Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Mérida (Venezuela), was born on October 10th, 1944 in Caracas, Venezuela. After his studies in philosophy in the Interdiocesan Seminary of Caracas, he attended the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain, where he obtained a licentiate in theology in 1966 and in 1977 received a doctorate in pastoral theology from the Higher Institute of Pastoral Care of the same University.
He was ordained a priest on July 30th, 1967, and subsequently served as cooperating vicar, minister, assistant diocesan cursillo, professor at the seminary and other public and private institutions; director of the Colegio Nuestra Señora del Rosario and professor of the IUT de los Llanos. In Caracas he was vice-rector of the interdiocesan seminary and director of studies (1978-1979); he also held the post of rector of the San José del Hatillo seminary from 1979-1983.
He was elected titular bishop of Lamdia and auxiliary of Mérida on July 30th, 1983, and received episcopal consecration on September 17th of the same year.
On October 30th, 1991 Pope John Paul II appointed him as metropolitan archbishop of Mérida, and took possession of the diocese on December 5th.
From March 1998 to June 1999 he was apostolic administrator of the vacant see of San Cristóbal.
He has held numerous positions in the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, of which he was president for two consecutive terms from 1999 to 2006, after long service as vice-president.
The fiirst vice-president of CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council) from 2007 to 2011, he is still a member of the Special Council for America of the Synod of Bishops (since 1997).
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 19 November 2016, titular church of Santi Giovanni Evangelista e Petronio.
- Pontifical Commission for Latin America.