Pope Francis on Monday spoke about the fight
against drug trafficking, as well as poverty and crime, as he
welcomed at the Vatican the new President of Venezuela, Nicolas
Maduro succeeded Hugo Chavez, who ruled for 14 years, narrowly beating opposition candidate Henrique Capriles in disputed elections in April.
Francis and Maduro "dwelled on (Venezuela's) social and political situation following the recent death of President Hugo Chavez Frias, as well as on current problems such as poverty and the fight against crime and drug trafficking," a Vatican statement said.
The two men also talked about Catholic-run hospitals and schools in Venezuela, and regional issues, particularly the peace process in neighbouring Colombia, the statement added.
Maduro also separately met with Secretaty of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone - who is the pope's "prime minister," and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, who is the Vatican's "foreign minister."
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