Nicolás Maduro meets with Pope Francis in Rome
The Venezuelan Head of State is slated to meet with the Italian president as well
The Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said last week that "it will be an audience with a Head of State, like all the others the Pope has held in recent months with Latin American leaders."
Subsequently, Maduro will meet with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, and in the afternoon will hold a meeting with representatives of social movements. This is his first official trip to Europe after he was elected president of Venezuela.
The hearing is the first in a week marked by the presence of Venezuela at the Vatican, as three opposition lawmakers will meet on Tuesday with the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, Dominique Mamberti, and also attend the Wednesday general audience.
Let us start by looking at what appears to be a discrepancy in figures. According to official statistics, the number of Venezuelans contracting HIV/AIDS every year amounts to 11,699; and as per Ministry of Health figures 43,805 people receive free antiretroviral medications. But Jhonatan Rodríguez, the president of ONG StopVIH, claims that these figures date back to March 2012, and that they are quoted as current figures.