Pope Francis departs for Colombia next week, a papal pilgrimage aimed at fostering reconciliation after the peace agreement of 2016 that ended Colombia’s decades-long civil war. While that remains the primary purpose, the trip will also give the Pope a chance to speak on two of his most important themes: migration and poverty.
The trip to Latin America takes the Holy Father to the border of Venezuela, where the petro-communist regime of the late Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás Maduro is murdering its political opponents, tearing up the constitution, devaluing the currency, vaporising savings, unleashing hyperinflation and reducing an oil-rich country to a level of poverty so dire that people are starving to death. In the name of defending “Chavismo” socialist ideology, Maduro refuses to let foreign relief supplies into the country, meaning that poor Venezuelans are also dying due to lack of basic medicines. Unsurprisingly, Venezuela is now producing refugees seeking to cross the border into Colombia.
Just as Pope Francis used his visit to Mexico to influence immigration politics across the border in the United States, it would be impossible for the first Latin American pope to ignore the crisis across the border in Venezuela.
What will Pope Francis say?
Might the self-proposed quadrilateral of the Holy Father’s thought – time is greater than space, the whole is greater than the part, unity prevails over conflict, reality is more important than ideas – be applied?
Pope Francis employed the quadrilateral to frame his message to the G20 earlier this summer in Hamburg. In that message he warned listeners against the failed ideologies of the 20th century being replaced with new ideologies of “market autonomy and financial speculation”.
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