Dialogue for Venezuela resumed in Mexico

The Venezuelan government and opposition sought to advance on Friday night in Mexico in an agreement that would allow the lifting of sanctions on the country by the United States and the European Union and guarantee free and transparent elections, according to the claims of both parties, in the continuity of the dialogue that began in mid-August and that has already allowed the signing of a primary understanding. The talks will last until Monday, and, as in previous meetings, they will be behind closed doors and without press.

The novelty of these conversations is that they take place just days after almost the entire opposition arch announced its participation in the elections of governors and mayors next November, under the refloated seal of the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), after two elections boycotted on the grounds that acceptable conditions did not exist. With the mediation of Norway and the host country as facilitator, the two delegations have very specific objectives.

The Government wants the international sanctions to be lifted, which cut off the chances of financing the Executive Branch and which mean that, for example, the country has gold withheld in London. “We come with deep expectations. We have received the instruction of President Nicolás Maduro that we make an emphasis on returning the economic guarantees that have been stolen from the Venezuelan people, “said the head of the National Assembly (AN, Parliament) and the Chavista delegation, Jorge Rodríguez, in statements to state television VTV. “It is very auspicious that, at this time, they have decided to participate in the elections of mayors and governors on November 21 and hopefully that position will be maintained. It is reassuring for Venezuelans that those who promoted violence, invasions and actions against the tranquility of the people Now go back to what the Constitution establishes as rights for all, “he commented.

The opposition seeks a clear electoral schedule and guarantees of cleanliness in the process. The opposition leader whom the United States and part of the region recognize as interim president, Juan Guaidó, explained that the goal of the dialogue is to achieve “an agreement that solves the conflict through a free and fair presidential and parliamentary election, with guarantees,” As he expressed in a video broadcast on his social networks, “Today there are no conditions for a free and fair electoral process in Venezuela” and therefore the presence of their representatives in Mexico, “fighting to achieve those conditions,” he said.

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Washington, Ottawa and Brussels were open to reviewing their sanctions policy if Maduro facilitates “significant progress” in the dialogue. Through its spokesman Ned Price, the US State Department greeted the beginning of the negotiations in a message on Twitter and expressed its desire for the peaceful “restoration of democracy” in Venezuela. “We hope that this process lays the foundations for the democratic exit that Venezuelans deserve,” Price stressed. That concept should be translated into political rights, electoral guarantees, freedom of movement for the opposition, and a timetable for observable elections.

According to the Colombian newspaper TimeUnlike the first meeting, where the tensions arose due to the recognition of the parties and the acceptance of some actors such as Carlos Vecchio, Guaidó’s representative in the United States, this time the confrontation could be more complex due to the request of presidential elections in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. “Sanctions lifted or nothing,” Maduro said on August 17.

The opposition Freddy Guevara would have been released by the Maduro regime on the condition that he participate in this dialogue and replace Vecchio. Guevara has not confirmed it, but has shown willingness to participate and even asked to put aside the “pride” between both parties to reach an “agreement” that allows coexistence in the country. With the dispute over the presence of Vecchio, the nexus between the United States and Guaidó, the refusal of the Maduro delegation that any actor participating in the interim government be in the dialogue is evident. For this reason, Tomás Guanipa, secretary general of the Primero Justicia party, resigned as the representative of the interim office in Colombia.

The dialogue process follows the failed talks between Barbados, in 2019, and the Dominican Republic, in 2018. This second phase occurs after the first talks from August 13 to 15 in Mexico, where both sectors signed a memorandum of understanding to define a common agenda.

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