Photo: VZ Pres. Maduro and Pope Francis
Pope Francis and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro dealt here Monday with some of the Andean country’s problems such as poverty and crime, the Vatican press office said.
The 20-minute meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and also included a discussion of “Venezuela’s social and political situation” following the recent death of long-time President Hugo Chavez.
During their talk the pope also made reference to the historical presence of the Catholic Church in the country and of its “decisive contribution in the fields of charity, health care and education.”
They also agreed on “the need for a sincere and constant” dialogue between the Maduro administration and Venezuela’s Catholic bishops.
This is Maduro’s first visit to the first Latin American pope since he did not attend the Mass at the beginning of the Argentine pontiff’s papacy on March 19.
The president was accompanied by his wife, Cilia Flores, and several members of his Cabinet.
Maduro told the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio how Venezuela received Sunday the prize awarded by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization for having reduced hunger in the country over the past decade, to which the pope responded with a “very good, very good” for the effort.