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  • Pope Francis (L) and a Venezuelan opposition protester (R).

    Pope Francis (L) and a Venezuelan opposition protester (R). | Photo: Reuters

Pope Francis called on the opposition to go back to the dialogue with the Venezuelan government. They refused.

The head of the opposition in Venezuela criticized Pope Francis after the Catholic leader called on them to resume dialogue with the government, indicating a division among their ranks.

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Henrique Capriles rejected the Pope's call for dialogue with the government of Nicolas Maduro to peacefully resolve the current political impasse in the country and said he was against the inclusion former presidents of the region, including Panama´s Martin Torrijos and the Dominican Republic's Leonel Fernandez, as mediators.

"It's not true, (Francis) speaks as if some want the dialogue and some don't," said Capriles during a march in Caracas.

Pope Francis addressed ongoing political turmoil in Venezuela on Saturday, remarking that sectors of the country’s right-wing opposition oppose dialogue with the socialist government. 

“Part of the opposition does not want this,” Francis said, Ciudad CCS reported.

The religious leader also said the opposition is “divided” and “seems to have conflicts that are becoming more acute.”

Francis, who claimed he may mediate talks between the government and the opposition again, said he’s interested in “doing everything that can be done for Venezuela.” Former presidents Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, Ernesto Samper of Colombia along with Fernandez and Torrijos currently serve as mediators. 

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Francis made the remarks while returning to Rome after leading a mass in Egypt.

Ongoing protests by the Venezuelan opposition have put a chokehold on the capital of Caracas, where many have spilled over into deadly violence against people and the destruction of property. While the opposition protests vary across society, groups of Venezuelan youth clad with masks and hooded jumpers continue to cause havoc.

A key tactic of the opposition protesters to put pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government has been to block off main arteries in Caracas, which this week has seen parts of the capital come to a standstill. Some opposition leaders have called for peaceful protests, but such requests have frequently fallen on deaf ears.

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