(Vatican Radio) Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, Luis Videgaray Caso, met with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Monday. The meeting, which ran 40 minutes longer than scheduled, included a broad range of subjects, from Latin American regional concerns, to cultural initiatives to mark the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Mexico.
Following the meeting, Videgaray told Vatican Radio he was especially happy for the opportunity to convey to Cardinal Parolin the gratitude of his government and of the people of his country for the prayerful and concrete solidarity the Holy See showed to Mexico in the wake of two major earthquakes in September.
“We … expressed how thankful we are, after the earthquakes that happened in Mexico last month, when His Holiness, the Pope – and the Vatican – expressed not only condolences, but also warm shows of appreciation towards Mexico, and also help – specific help – that the Vatican sent to Mexico,” he said, referring to the $150 thousand donation Pope Francis made to relief efforts following the 7.1-magnitude quake that struck on Tuesday, September 19th, killing more than 250 people and causing extensive damage in and around the nation’s capital, as well as his appeals to the international community for timely shows of effective solidarity at the General Audience the following day.
Issues in focus: Venezuela
One of the specific regional topics discussed during the course of the meeting was the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, in which Mexico has been asked to play a role of mediation. “Certainly it came up,” Videgaray said. “Cardinal Parolin knows Venezuela very well. He has been involved – and the Holy See has been involved – in the process in Venezuela.”
He went on to explain that the request came from both sides in the dispute.
“A few weeks ago, we got an invitation, both from the opposition and also [from] the government, to play a role in the upcoming negotiations that are being sponsored by the Dominican Republic. This process has not started yet, and there is no clarity when and if it will start. But, we have expressed that we are always willing and available to work through our own diplomatic means, to create a path towards the return of democracy in Venezuela.”
The Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary explained that his country’s chief desire is to see Venezuela return to functional democratic life – a return, the way to which will ultimately be found by the people of Venezuela, themselves, but which is of paramount importance to the entire Latin American community. “We are very concerned – we’ve said it many times – about the deterioration of the Venezuelan democracy,” said Videgaray. “We think this is a problem that should concern us all in the region, and it is something we talked about with Cardinal Parolin. The Vatican has been playing a role – very constructive. Unfortunately, the process has not been successful yet. So, we will continue to play a role, and I think it is key that we keep close communication with the Holy See on the matter,” Videgaray went on to say.
Mexico and the Holy See: desire to strengthen relationship
On the cultural side of things, Videgaray reported pleasure at being able to present a major art exhibit called, in Spanish, Da Pedro a Francisco – “From Peter to Francis”, celebrating a quarter-century of restored diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Holy See.
“[T]hese have been 25 years of a special relationship, in which the friendship, the closeness, is evident – and we look forward to strengthening this relationship.”