ESPACIO PUBLICITARIO
CARACAS, Tuesday June 18, 2013 | Update
 
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Maduro, Pope Francis agree on regular dialogue with the Church

The Venezuelan leader proposed the pope an alliance to extend Venezuela's welfare program Misión Milagro (Miracle Mission)

President Maduro met with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano (Miraflores press office)
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EL UNIVERSAL
Tuesday June 18, 2013  09:57 AM
In private, Pope Francis and Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro held a meeting on Monday at the Vatican and talked about "the social and political situation of Venezuela after the recent death of President Hugo Chávez," according to a press release from the Vatican. The notice adds the meeting lasted some 20 minutes and was held in a "climate of cordiality."

The pope and Maduro further agreed on "the need for a sincere and regular dialogue between the (Venezuelan) Bishops Conference (CEV) and the State for the development of the nation."

For his part, the Venezuelan leader proposed Pope Francis a "social alliance" between Venezuela and the Holy See to extend the so-called Mission Milagro (Miracle Mission), a welfare program aimed at helping low-income citizens undergo a sight surgery for free.

After giving the pope, among other things, a sculpture of Dr. José Gregorio Hernández (1864-1919), Maduro called on His Holiness for the canonization of the man he termed "the saint of the poor."

The Venezuelan President seized the opportunity to meet with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano. During the meeting, the leaders went through Italy-Venezuela cooperation in the industrial sector, tourism, and security.
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Is protest over?

That political protest in Venezuela has lost momentum seems pretty obvious: people are no longer building barricades to block off streets near Plaza Francia in Altamira (eastern Caracas), an anti-government stronghold; no new images have been shown of brave and dashing protesters with bandanna-covered faces clashing with the National Guard in San Cristóbal, in the western state of Táchira; and those who dreamed of a horde of "Gochos" (Tachirans) descending  in an avalanche to stir up revolt in Caracas have been left with no option but to wake up to reality.

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