Not exactly another John Paul II: Pope Francis declares neutrality on Venezuela

Imagine Pope John Paul II openly declaring he wouldn't take sides in Poland, as the showdown between Solidarity's hugely popular freedom-fighters and the detested Jaruzelski communist military regime came to a head.  In Venezuela, that same sort of sort of conflict over communism and freedom is happening, the world is choosing sides, a pope from the actual region is there, and Russia remains the same malevolent puppet-master in the background.

The difference is that now, we seem to have a pope who's abdicated his moral authority, saying he's not about to take sides, and all because he's concerned about "violence."  He didn't specify who was doing the violence, but it's obvious enough to the rest of us.

Here's the incredible report:

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Sunday he feared bloodshed in Venezuela but that it was premature for him to take sides because it could cause more damage.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, citing a fraudulent election and winning wide international support.

"In this moment, I support all the Venezuelan people because they are a people who are suffering," the pope told reporters on a plane taking him back from Panama, where he made an appeal for a just solution and respect for human rights in Venezuela.

Talk about empty words.  Venezuela's opposition is making just that move for a "just solution" and "respect for human rights," and he's not offering them a word of support.

America is.  Brazil is.  Most of Latin America is.  The European Union is.  Israel is.  Australia is.  Georgia is.  Heck, even the Inter-American Development Bank is.  But not the pope.  His neutral position is exactly the same as the position of China, which has a large financial stake at risk if the dictatorship is sent packing.  The old gray men of the Forbidden City are hedging because they don't want to burn bridges if the whole thing falls apart, because, well, money.  The pope's neutrality is suggestive of this being all about soulless money, too, though it probably isn't.

No, instead of using the might and power of his office to speak out against some very real injustice – seriously, this is a no-brainer, not hard to do at all – he's just calling for a preservation of the status quo, and his words must mean a world of comfort to Venezuela's odious dictator, Nicolás Maduro, who can now yell he's got the pope on his side as his goons and foreign "advisers" keep their little torture operation going on and millions of poor continue to starve and flee.

The pope pays lip service to caring about the poor, even in his cowardly statements, but the hard fact is, the poor are going to starve so that Maduro can stay in power.  His socialist system has failed.  The money is worthless.  The money for imports is running out, meaning that the food is running out.  Medical care has become nonexistent.  Foreign aid has been blocked, a regime act so bad that Venezuelans are planning their next big protest around it.  Venezuelans are starving, with the poor hardest hit – they lost an average of 21 pounds under the Maduro regime last year, and 90% are in poverty.  At least three million have fled for their lives.  That's why it's the poor who are leading this protest – which is countrywide.

And the pope can't spare a word of support for these poor, who are unanimous in their loathing for this detested Cuban- and Russian-controlled military regime and are doing the only thing they possibly can, which is to peacefully protest it out of existence?  He should be praising these poor if he cares as much as he says he does about them, especially for not taking up arms, which, frankly, they have a right to do. 

He speaks of his fears of violence, which is pretty cowardly, given that the Venezuelan government's war on the poor has already started.  The violence is no longer to be feared; the violence is there.  Venezuela's people weren't interested in war, but under socialism, war was interested in them. 

With this insane "neutrality," about a matter no one can be neutral about, the pope doesn't seem to actually care about the poor, at least as far as getting them less poor is concerned.  The poor have already concluded that Maduro (an obviously well fed billionaire along with his cronies) isn't going to give them any food based on the threat that poses to his power, therefore Venezuela's poor will continue to see their children and old people starve or eat garbage if nothing is done.  They are responding to literally a mortal threat from an odious dictatorship that they didn't elect, and they are doing the only moral thing they can to save those babies, which is try to stop it.

The local bishops of Venezuela have been forthright about the horrors of socialism and the abuses of the regime.  Yet the pope is ignoring them, too.  It's baffling.  The Maduro regime probably is going to fall as momentum builds and the West separates the thug from Venezuela's money.  What is the pope going to say then?  He won't have anything to say.  For a Latin pope to be that out of moral ammunition is sad.  Nobody's going to call this guy after he passes "Pope Francis the Great."