In a startlingly forthright Open Letter to Pope Francis that refuses to softball the gravity of the situation, HRW’s José Miguel Vivanco walks the Vatican through how to avoid the next fiasco:

…the starting point of any meaningful dialogue should be an explicit recognition of the government’s responsibility by everyone sitting at the table. Specifically, the Maduro administration should commit itself to implementing the following measures immediately:

  1.  Stop arresting political opponents and critics, and abusing detainees
  2.  Releasing every Venezuelan arrested for political reasons who is subject to baseless prosecutions;
  3.  Allowing the National Assembly to exercise its legislative powers;
  4.  Allowing the recall referendum process to proceed without further political interference or undue delay; and
  5.  Acknowledging it is facing a profound humanitarian crisis, and seeking international humanitarian aid to address it.

…this new dialogue risks serving only to allow the Maduro government to make disingenuous promises that do not solve the problems that Venezuela is facing…

The government of Venezuela has demonstrated no interest in committing itself to adopting any of these measures, much less in the short term. Therefore, without strong international pressure to do so, this new dialogue risks serving only to allow the Maduro government to make disingenuous promises that do not solve the problems that Venezuela is facing, as previous dialogue initiatives have done. To ensure that this is not the case, we respectfully urge you to take to the table an objective assessment of the situation and concrete results that should be obtained, including, but not limited to, those outlined above. Based on Human Rights Watch’s frequent visits to Venezuela, I can assure you that the situation in the country is critical, and there is no more time to waste.

Any questions?

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  1. The Vatican is complicit in these affairs when they do not stand up for the congregation and instead allows themselves to be played by the gubmint.

    When the Vatican sends a shipment of medicines to the people suffering in Venezuela, I’ll be more inclined to believe they are looking out for the poor and helpless.

    Francis still has not said one word about the Father who was beaten to a pulp.

  2. Pope Francis appears to be blind to the evils of socialism. He kisses up to the Castros and speaks highly of socialist ideals. Of course the Pope is a leader of morality but he must ask God for guidance and not accept socialist leader propaganda. The Castros are church hating mass murderers. Maduro is also a mass murderer by not stopping crime, letting health care deteriorate, and now a lack of nutrition is killing people. Maduro and the Castros should not be blessed because they are on their way to hell whatever the Pope does.

    I hope Maduro was house hunting on his World Tour of oil prices. Chavez kept Simon
    Bolivar’s finger bone with him at all times. I wonder if Maduro keeps Chavez finger bone with him at all times– I wonder if it is Chavez middle finger.


  3. That embarrassing moment when some NGO has to talk some sense into a 2,000 old Church.

    We all remember when that Argentine became the pope how everyone was so hopeful and optimistic, specially in South America, finally someone with ‘charisma’, they said. But I’d rather have a grumpy pope with zero charisma that at least has God as guidance, as Ronaldo said above, than having a Pope that uses UN and ALBA as moral compass.

    No wonder the Vatican visits have dropped so much since 2013, which is his first year as pope:

  4. What does the pope have to do with Venezuela? He loves and embraces the Castros, in Cuba, and what about Asia or Africa? Freaking fake religions.. What do they actually DO, except instigate wars and get rich? Historically.


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