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Rome Reports

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Venezuelan new cardinal: The government has chosen the most radical for the negotiating committee

The future Venezuelan cardinal, Baltazar Porras, has arrived in Rome.  Talking with the European press, he said that he had hope for the situation in his country, but he also warned that success in the negotiations between government and opposers is not guaranteed.   MSGR. BALTAZAR PORRAS Archbishop of Mérida (Venezuela) "The representatives of the government in this dialogue committee are very radical, so it is not easy to have a conversation with them.â? The Venezuelan Archbishop underlined that the role of the Church is to be with the people: not with the government or the opposition. He said that the system has sunk the country in a terrible collapse: corruption, hunger, and migration. A poll taken by local universities revealed that almost half of the population lives in extreme poverty. MSGR. BALTAZAR PORRAS Archbishop of Mérida (Venezuela) "Our current regime has destroyed everything that was here before. It is important to remember that in the last 18 years in Venezuela more than 5,000 companies have shut down. Now we have to import nearly everything that we used to produce.The situation we live in is an effort to impose a social system and an economic system that in some aspects resembles one from before the nineteenth century.â?  He was joined by the press director of the Venezuelan Conference of Bishops, Pedro Pablo Aguilar. He said the government is negotiating with the opposition out of fear more than political good will. However, he has a positive outlook on the situation.  PEDRO PABLO AGUILAR Venezuelan Conference of Bishops "The government is reluctant to accept the humanitarian crisis. They do not want to acknowledge the problem. They say that everything is OK. They have parties in the public offices, so it appears that everything is all right. That is why the fact that they have acknowledged the crisis means they feel weak.â? Monsignor Baltazar Porras will be created cardinal on Saturday, so Venezuela will have two of its countrymen in the College of Cardinals, both of them electors.  JRB/AG AA -FL -PR Up:MB