Vatican No 2 skips trip to Venezuela, cites pandemic

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Pietro Parolin

FILE – In this file photo taken on March 6, 2021, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin arrives ahead of an interreligious meeting with Pope Francis near the archaeological area of the Sumerian city-state of Ur, 20 kilometers south-west of Nasiriyah, Iraq. The Vatican No. 2 is skipping a planned trip to Venezuela this week because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s former ambassador to Caracas, had planned to celebrate the April 30 beatification of Jose Gregorio Hernandez, dubbed the “doctor of the poor.” The Vatican said Wednesday that due to issues linked to the pandemic, Parolin wouldn’t make the trip. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini/FILE)

ROME (AP) — The Vatican No. 2 is skipping a planned trip to Venezuela this week because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s former ambassador to Caracas, had planned to celebrate the April 30 beatification of Jose Gregorio Hernandez, dubbed the “doctor of the poor.”

The Vatican said Wednesday that because of issues linked to the pandemic, Parolin wouldn’t make the trip.

His visit coincided with revived efforts by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government to courtthe Biden administration in hopes it will ease sanctions meant to isolate the socialist leader.

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