Saturday, November 27

Venezuelan government and opposition hold talks in Mexico City

The Venezuelan government and opposition have started talks in Mexico City focused on lifting sanctions and holding elections in an attempt to end a crippling political and economic crisis.

Previous talks in the Dominican Republic in 2018 and Barbados the following year did not resolve disputes between President Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader considered president by some 60 countries.

Neither of them attended the opening ceremony in person at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

Instead, the representatives of the two parties signed an agreement that officially begins the dialogue mediated by Norway and organized by the Mexican government.

The hard bribery was expected to be left for a later date, however, the parties were to meet again on August 30 to discuss a seven-point agenda that does not include the departure of Maduro, accused by the opposition of having been relocated in a way. fraudulent. -elected in 2018.

There could be a softening of certain sanctions and progress on issues such as political prisoners, but Maduro is not about to leave power, said Luis Vicente León, director of the Venezuelan pollster Datanálisis.

The economic crisis has been exacerbated by a series of new sanctions imposed by Washington after the controversial elections.

The United States has urged Maduro, a former bus driver who took office after the death of his mentor Hugo Chávez in 2013, to make serious efforts to hold elections if he wants sanctions to be eased.

In a state television broadcast on Thursday, Maduro said his country would go to the talks “autonomously and independently and does not submit to blackmail or threats from the United States government.”

Previously, Maduro said he was seeking an “immediate lifting of all criminal sanctions” led by the United States, which in 2019 said it no longer considered him the legitimate president after widespread allegations of electoral irregularities.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the sanctions, which include an oil embargo, are aimed at “promoting accountability” for democracy and human rights.

“We have also made it clear that the Maduro regime can create a path to relax sanctions by allowing Venezuelans to participate in free and fair presidential, parliamentary and local elections that were debated long ago,” Price told reporters.

Maduro was represented by a delegation led by the president of the parliament, Jorge Rodríguez, while the opposition team was led by the politician and lawyer Gerardo Blyde.

Venezuela “needs and deserves a solution,” Guaidó wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Guaidó, who declared himself president of Venezuela in 2019 through his position as president of parliament, wants guarantees on electoral conditions and a clear program for the presidential elections, as well as the release of political prisoners.

Maduro never lost control of the country’s institutions, particularly the armed forces, while Guaidó was replaced as speaker of parliament after the opposition boycotted legislative elections in December.

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