Vatican City, 17 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His Excellency Mr. Nicolas Maduro Moros, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. President Maduro then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the talks, which were held in a cordial atmosphere, topics focused on included the country's social and political situation after the recent death of President Hugo Chavez Frias, as well as current issues such as poverty and the fight against crime and drug trafficking.
As the talks continued, reference was made to the Catholic Church's historical presence in the country and her decisive contribution to charity, health care, and education, and the need for constant and sincere dialogue between the Episcopal Conference and the State for the development of the entire nation was agreed upon.
Finally, the regional situation was discussed, with particular reference made to the peace process in Colombia.