The Venezuelan president described the Vatican foreign minister’s letter to local businessmen, urging Caracas politicians to hold serious talks to resolve the crisis, as “a summary of hatred”.
A letter from Vatican Foreign Minister Cardinal Pietro Parolin was read out by a representative of the Catholic Church at the annual meeting of Venezuela’s largest business organization, Fed Camaras, on Tuesday evening, according to Reuters.
A senior government official attended the meeting years later, signaling a easing of tensions between business leaders and the socialist government. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro inaugurated the summit to mark the end of years of stagnation in the once-thriving OPEC member.
“When everyone is talking about production and overcoming the economic crisis, an anonymous priest reads a letter from Pietro Parolin, which was a summary of hatred and resentment,” Maduro said in a televised speech, accusing Parolin of meddling in Venezuela’s affairs.
The Vatican has not yet commented on the allegations.
Maduro’s remarks come as the Venezuelan government and opposition prepare for talks aimed at reaching an agreement on electoral conditions.
“A solution to the Venezuelan crisis can only be achieved if Venezuelans, especially those with some political responsibility, are willing to sit down and seriously discuss serious problems and find a solution to the real needs of Venezuelans,” the Vatican letter said. “
Last month, Cardinal Balthazar Pouras of Venezuela said the Catholic Church was willing to mediate between the two sides.