A year without dialogue in Venezuela, where politics is negotiated in the shadows

It has been a year since the Venezuelan government has had a dialogue with the opposition, at least formally, since the parties suspended negotiations in Mexico and began a process of hidden rapprochements and parallel incentives that still today seek to lead to a reactivation of the talks.

2022, a year without elections and a vociferous economic recovery, put in the background the need for a political dialogue in the country, which does not annul all the movements made by the parties, and by other actors, to return to the table formal dialogue and avoid secret meetings.

Although, in mid-May, the heads of both delegations held a working meeting in Caracas with a view to reestablishing the mechanism, so far there is no certainty and, meanwhile, time is running in favor of the Government.


Chavismo maintains a dialogue "constant" with "all oppositions"or so President Nicolás Maduro repeats it, which makes it clear that, although the talks in Mexico were interrupted by his own decision, he has not closed the channels for bilateral understandings, without the observation of international guarantors.

The last meeting, at least that is known, took place in June in Norway, where the heads of both delegations traveled to participate in the Oslo Forum. What was discussed on that occasion remains a summary secret.

The Executive has moved stealthily and, thus, has managed to add 12 months without political instability. But, not only that, but it has also made progress in its direct relationship with the United States, whose government has sent at least two delegations to Caracas for meetings with abstract purposes such as "safety".


Under this halo of mystery, Maduro struck a masterstroke this month by exchanging seven imprisoned Americans in Venezuela for two nephews of his wife, Cilia Flores, convicted of drug trafficking in the United States. The transaction, which was completed outside the negotiation table, is an incentive to dialogue, the same one that Washington is pressing to reactivate.

Behind this exchange, there were offers and counteroffers that are unknown but that are related to the US interest in resuming negotiations for the 2024 presidential elections, elections that could be brought forward, as Maduro himself recently suggested. , and in which numerous partners in the country have their expectations placed.

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When the door to the exchanges opens, several possibilities stand out on the board, the most important being the release of Colombian businessman Alex Saab, imprisoned in the US and accused of being a figurehead for Maduro, and whose deportation from Cape Verde to Florida ended for knocking down the negotiations a year ago.


Opposition negotiators have said they are "ready" to resume the dialogue and they are the ones who make the most public statements in favor of a return to the table. They have wrongly predicted, at least twice, a "imminent" resumption, but the chairs are still empty.

At the same time, they are trying to set internal elections to choose a unitary candidate who will face Chavismo at the polls, in 2024. The process has made little progress and the primaries have no set date, so a possible advancement of the presidential elections would put them in check

Likewise, the multiplicity of names that, from the ranks of anti-Chavismo, aspire to the Presidency makes it difficult to outline a corridor that begins to gain support, while Maduro, the predictable candidate on the other side, speaks daily by all possible means and shows solving problems and "victorious"as he describes himself.


While the US warns Maduro not to accept more "delaying tactics" to return to the talks, Chavismo wins every day that the table remains empty and the country is experiencing an incipient financial improvement after seven years of recession.

The barrage of international sanctions that weigh on Venezuela continues to be the opposition’s letter of pressure, supported by the US, but it does not end up sitting down with the ruling party, an interlocutor experienced in dissolving dialogue processes without giving anything in return.

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