• In this July 21, 2016 file photo, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro stands with Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, left, and former Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez, during a photo opportunity after a meeting at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela’s government says Pope Francis met with Maduro at the Vatican on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

    Maduro meets pope as Vatican steps into Venezuela crisis

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met Monday with Pope Francis as the Vatican took a more active role trying to defuse a tense political standoff in the South American nation.