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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05VATICAN508 2005-08-10 08:59:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
Cable title:  

VENEZUELA: VATICAN NOT READY TO CHANGE TACTICS

Tags:   VT VE PREL PGOV KIRF PHUM 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L  VATICAN 000508 

SIPDIS


DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (CUNNINGHAM); WHA/AND (FRIEDMAN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 8/10/2015
TAGS: VT VE PREL PGOV KIRF PHUM
SUBJECT: VENEZUELA: VATICAN NOT READY TO CHANGE TACTICS

REF: A. A) VATICAN 489


B. B) MARTIN- MCISAAC JULY 20 EMAIL

C. C) CARACAS 2206

D. D) CARACAS 2258

E. E) CARACAS 2326

CLASSIFIED BY: Peter Martin, POL, Vatican, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
------------
Summary
------------



1. (C) Holy See Deputy Foreign Minister Parolin affirmed to
the Charge August 9 the Vatican's preference for outreach and
dialogue with President Chavez rather than confrontation.
Parolin took the same approach he had in a June 30 meeting with
Post's former Charge on the subject (ref a), despite the recent
Church-State tensions in Venezuela (ref c, d). Parolin clearly
did not believe recent events called for a change in the
Vatican's approach on Venezuela and indicated that the Holy See
was not pleased that Cardinal Castillo Lara had spoken out
against Chavez and the government as he did, regardless of
Chavez's role in the controversy. Focusing on Chavez's
treatment of the Church and his broader abuses, we will continue
to encourage the Holy See to take a harder line on his
government. There may also be a further opportunity for
movement on this issue if Pope Benedict names a new secretary of
state (prime minister equivalent) in the fall, as he is rumored
to do. However, it will be difficult in this instance to shake
the Vatican from its preference for dialogue over confrontation,
even if the local Church is becoming more aggressive. End
Summary.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Vatican Favors Outreach, Despite Recent Controversy


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) Holy See Deputy Foreign Minister equivalent Monsignor
Pietro Parolin affirmed to the Charge (during his August 9
welcome call) the Vatican's preference for outreach and dialogue
with President Chavez rather than confrontation. Parolin took
the same approach he had in a June 30 meeting with Post's former
Charge on the subject (ref a). This also tracked with what we
have heard at other times recently from the Vatican's
secretariat of state (ref a, b) despite the recent war of words

SIPDIS
between Chavez and Cardinal Castillo Lara and other Church-State
tensions (ref c,d).



--------------------------


"He's no Saint, but~"


--------------------------





3. (C) Charge noted Chavez's harsh treatment of the cardinal
and emphasized broader U.S. concerns on Venezuela. Parolin,
however, clearly did not believe recent events called for a
change in Vatican's approach on Venezuela. In fact, he
indicated that the Holy See was not pleased that Castillo Lara
had spoken out as he did, regardless of Chavez's role in the
controversy. "We aren't happy with the situation," Parolin
said. "This back and forth in the media cannot help matters.
Everyone knows who Chavez is. We're not saying he's a saint,
but we have to deal with him." Parolin remains convinced that
Chavez hopes to have a better relationship with the Church, his
recent diatribes notwithstanding. And the Vatican plans to give
him more than a chance. "As I told [the former Charge], we fear
that a confrontational approach with drive Chavez even further
into the arms of Castro (ref a)."



4. (C) The Charge cited Embassy Caracas's outreach to
Venezuelan Church leaders (ref e) and Ambassador Brownfield's
interest in meeting the nuncio (ref d, e) as a step toward
greater Vatican involvement in support of the Venezuelan Church.
Parolin did not comment.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





5. (C) Parolin is concerned about Chavez and his effects on
Venezuela and the region. He took notice when the Charge told
him that Chavez, making baseless claims, had just announced the
severing of the USG's long-standing counter-narcotics
relationship with Venezuela. Focusing on Chavez's treatment of
the Church and his broader abuses, we will continue to encourage
the Holy See to take a harder line on his government. We will
also work with Holy See Country Director for Venezuela Nicolas
Thevenin, who has taken a somewhat harder line than Parolin on
Chavez in the past. There may also be a further opportunity for
movement on this issue if Pope Benedict names a new secretary of
state (prime minister equivalent) in the fall, as he is rumored
to do. There have been signs that the current secretariat of
state is not working in full harmony with other parts of the

Vatican, including the papacy.



6. (C) However, it will be difficult in this instance to shake
the Vatican from its preference for dialogue over confrontation,
even if the local Church is becoming more aggressive. While the
Holy See is not likely at this point to call down Castillo Lara,
Archbishop Porras, or the Venezuelan bishops when they criticize
Chavez, it will try its best to stay above the fray. Parolin
remains convinced that the confrontational approach taken by
former nuncio to Venezuela Andre Dupuy was unproductive (ref a).
"Dialogue is our policy, as much as possible," Parolin
concluded.


SANDROLINI


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