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Venezuelan Cardinal Baltazar Porras considers that the absence of a “clear” stance of the part of the Biden administration towards Venezuela creates “greater uncertainty,” and believes that sanctions against the “regime” should by no means be lifted without counterparts.
The Archbishop of Merida, who is also Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Caracas, has closed in Miami a tour of several cities across the United States in order to present to the faithful a relic of the Venezuelan Blessed José Gregorio Hernández (1864-1919)
The figure of the doctor and researcher takes on greater meaning in the midst of the “absurd” war of Russia against Ukraine, because he was a “peace cultist” to such degree as to offer his life to God for the First World War to end, and dying in an accident less than a year after the armistice, Porras told Efe.
In his visits to New York, Washington and Boston, the Cardinal has met with representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), but makes no mention of having met with members of Joseph Biden’s administration.
His opinion regarding the Biden administration’s stance on Venezuela is that “it is not clear” and, according to him, it makes it “much more complicated in the midst of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and with the position of the Venezuelan regime unreservedly supporting Russia’s attitude.”
“This, undoubtedly, generates greater uncertainty and greater despair,” he assures.
His views on a dialogue
Very close to Pope Francis, the Cardinal continues to defend the need for a negotiated solution so that Venezuela can return to the democratic path, even though he recognizes that the idea of a new dialogue causes rejection given the many unsuccessful attempts since 1999.
“There has always been a lack of real willingness on the part of the regime, not only to talk, but to come into an understanding, and this means that for a greater part of the Venezuelan population to speak of dialogue is almost a bad word”, he acknowledges.
However, he stresses that “when there is a conflict, one has to look for a way to solve it and solve it rationally.”
In his opinion, it cannot be through weapons or violence: “One must be creative enough to seek and forge a dialogue, and undoubtedly there must be a real desire on both sides to reach an understanding,” he added.
That stance of the Church, which has “always been the same, not recent,” applies also to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“In life all conflicts are settled not by eliminating one of the parties, but by finding a common ground and, above all, the respect for the dignity of the person,” he asserts.
When asked if the regime of Nicolás Maduro has given any sign that it is willing to make concessions on said issues concerning human dignity, Porras answered no.
“It seems the only thing sought is the lifting of sanctions, but nothing else is addressed regarding freedoms and all that involves the independence of powers, mainly the Judiciary and the Electoral Power,” he pointed out.
However, he goes on highlighting that “one does not talk to whom one wants, but to whom one has to” and calls on both parties to “look for ways and open channels” to reach understandings. There must be concessions on both sides, he adds.
As stated by Cardinal Porras, the Maduro regime currently feels “calm and safe”, because the pandemic has allowed it to keep the population under control and isolated and suffocating protests, but this does not mean that Venezuelans are happy, but rather that there is “repression” and “militarism.”
Porras denounces a “situation of growing poverty” which explains, among other things, “the increasing number of people who continue to leave the country.”
The Cardinal emphasizes that poverty is prior to sanctions and that the counterpart for a possible uprising has to come from the side of human rights and personal freedoms.