Pope: Terrified of bloodbath in Venezuela, won’t pick sides

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis says he is “terrified of a bloodbath” in Venezuela but doesn’t want to pick sides in the political standoff because it’s not his role as a pastor.

Francis told reporters travelling home from Panama on Sunday that he supports the entire Venezuelan population.

He said: “If I were to enter and say ‘Do this’ to those countries, or to other countries, I would put myself in a role that I do not know. It would be a pastoral imprudence on my part and would do damage.”

Francis called for a “just and peaceful” solution to the crisis in Venezuela that respects human rights and avoids suffering. But he didn’t say if the Holy See would recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido in his claim for the presidency over Socialist President Nicolas Maduro.