The first round of negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the opposition ends this Monday (6) in Mexico City, mediated by representatives of the Mexican and Norwegian government, in addition to the observation of Russia and the Netherlands. The first meetings were without conclusions, but with positive statements from both sides to try to reach partial agreements.
“This is a great opportunity for the Venezuelan people to regain their right to economic freedom, to the constitutional path, which no one should have ever left,” declared the President of the National Assembly and leader of the government delegation, Jorge Rodríguez.
On the opposing side, the head of the delegation, Gerardo Blyde, also highlighted that the dialogue table should be understood as an achievement of Venezuelans.
“We hope to be able to announce some partial agreements as soon as possible. Only with the recovery of democratic institutions will we be able to solve the immense economic problems that our country is experiencing”, declared the former mayor of the municipality of Baruta.
Among the seven points agreed for the negotiations, the government hopes to reach the end of the blockade as soon as possible, while the opposition insists on an electoral timetable for presidential and parliamentary elections.
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“In December, obviously as soon as possible, and here comes what the negotiation experts are saying: what are the ‘possible agreement zones’ for resolving the conflict? For Venezuelans, elections are what resolve the conflict,” defended opponent Juan Guaidó.
After six years trying to bring about the end of the Chavez administration through plans that included the establishment of a parallel government, the application of economic sanctions and the carrying out of attacks, the four main opposition parties decided to recognize the legitimacy of the presidency of Nicolás Maduro and sit to dialogue.
In 2017, right after the garimbas – violent oppositional acts – there was a dialogue table, established in the Dominican Republic, between representatives of the Executive and the Venezuelan extreme right, mediated by the former president of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. However, when they were about to sign an agreement, the opposition, at the time led by ex-deputy Julio Borges, broke the negotiation channel.
“What I can say to Venezuela and to the world is that we will have all the patience and strategic height. We will swallow what is necessary to seek an agreement for peace, recovery and well-being of Venezuelans”, assured Nicolás Maduro in an interview this weekend.
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The government delegation went to Mexico with two previous documents seeking partial agreements. The first demanded the immediate lifting of sanctions and the return of Venezuelan public money blocked abroad, estimated at US$ 7 billion (about R$ 35 billion) in liquid assets alone. The second is related to the defense of the Essequibo territory in the dispute with Guyana.
“When we sit at this table, we understand that we are sitting with the United States government, because this platform for unity is the politicians who depend on the decisions of the United States, both in Trump’s administration and with Joe Biden,” said Maduro.
Shortly after the installation of the dialogue table, foreign policy representatives from the United States, Canada and the European Union issued a joint statement expressing “a willingness to review sanctions policies if the regime makes significant progress in the announced negotiations.”
Another controversial issue was the granting of a pardon to Freddy Guevara, arrested in July for the second time, accused of planning a drone attack on Maduro. A former deputy and advisor to Guaidó, Guevera was pardoned to replace Carlos Vecchio, named Guaidó’s ambassador to the US, at the dialogue table.
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Maduro, however, insists that there will be no impunity for those responsible for crimes that have affected the Venezuelan people. Both the government and the opposition filed cases in the International Criminal Court denouncing crimes committed by their opponents.
The opposition aligned with Guaidó accuses Maduro of leading a “dictatorship” and systematically violating human rights. The Bolivarian government accuses the opposition and the White House of committing crimes against humanity with the application of the economic blockade, which since 2015 has generated around US$ 130 billion (approximately R$ 670 billion) in damages to the country, according to Caracas calculations.
In addition to starting negotiations, the Venezuelan far right also decided to participate in regional elections on November 21, after nearly six years of boycotting electoral processes. The process will be a thermometer to measure the support of Chavismo and the opposition’s ability to mobilize a recall referendum in 2022, when Maduro reaches the middle of his second term.
Edition: Thales Schmidt