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Argentine ambassadors call for Pope to mediate in Venezuela crisis

A group of retired Argentine ambassadors points to Pope John Paul II's intervention in the conflict between Argentina and Chile in the 1970s as an example of the Vatican's successes in regional politics.

Thursday 31 January, 2019
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with Pope Francis.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with Pope Francis. Foto:File-Perfil

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A group of retired Argentine ambassadors is calling for Pope Francis to intervene in Venezuela's domestic crisis before the situation in the Caribbean country worsens.

In a statement, the so-called "Reflection Group", composed of former top diplomats, pointed to Pope John Paul II's intervention in the territorial conflict between Argentina and Chile in the late 1970s as a previous success story of Vatican participation in regional affairs.

The ambassadors called on the Mauricio Macri government "to call on Pope Francis to intervene as a mediator in the ongoing domestic conflict in Venezuela".

Ambassador Juan Carlos Olima, a former vice Foreign minister, and Federico Mirré, a former Argentine ambassador to the United Kingdom, are among the group which "laments" that Argentina has aligned itself with the Trump administration in recognising opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president.

"In Venezuela, the crisis has been aggravated because of the continued statements of the (US) Secretary of State, Vice President and President (Trump) which include the threat of the use of force. This also prompted the expression of support for the Maduro government of Russia and China. And an ambiguous declaration from the European Union", the statement read.

"Our country has a honourable diplomatic tradition... of non intervention and self determination, principles which the US government and a group of Lima Group countries violates", they added.

On the other hand, the ambassadors praised the "dignified" position of México and Uruguay which have "opted for the path of dialogue and of all legal and pacific means posible to allow for the protection of the rule of law, the relevance of democracy and the full respect of [Venezuela's] political sovereignty".

The document was signed by Juan Carlos Olima, José Gutiérrez Maxwell, Hernán Patiño Mayer, Victorio Taccetti and Federico Mirré.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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