The United States has been focused elsewhere for a while and Venezuela appears en route to solve its problems on its own.
Two delegations – one representing President Nicholas Maduro’s government and another the opposition under Juan Guaido met in Mexico in an attempt to mend fences.
“We have been working mainly on partial agreements, especially those related to serving the people of Venezuela,” parliament speaker Jorge Rodriguez, who led the government delegation said.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for the lifting of international sanctions and demanded the opposition recognize the authority of the government.
Maduro has previously demanded that all “legitimate authorities of Venezuela” be recognized and has called on the opposition renounce violence. He has urged the US and western powers to drop sanctions on Venezuela, which he believes are behind the country’s severe economic crisis.
The opposition made no mention of sanctions, but called for fair and free elections and said it wanted to take part in upcoming local polls.
The opposition has called for the release of political prisoners and the entry of humanitarian assistance, such as coronavirus vaccines, into Venezuela.
Hoy inicia la primera ronda de negociación en México.
Por un acuerdo de Salvación Nacional
Por elecciones libres y justas
¡Estamos unidos por la salvación de Venezuela!
Aquí nuestro mensaje al país👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/oachXZON8l
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) September 3, 2021
Neither Maduro nor Guaido are personally attending the Mexico talks.
“Our aim is to reach an agreement that resolves the conflict through a free and fair presidential and parliamentary election, with guarantees,” Guaido said in a video published on social media.
The government is “very attentive” to all the economic guarantees that have been “wrested, blocked, stolen, withdrawn from the people of Venezuela”, added Rodriguez.
Opposition delegation leader in Mexico, Gerardo Blyde, on his part said:
“It is a process which is beginning, which is hard, complex.” He said the goal was “to alleviate the crisis” caused by “very serious basic problems.”
The negotiations in Mexico kicked off in mid-August, with the government and opposition delegations signing a memorandum of understanding during an opening ceremony.
Some concessions have been made, as the government released opposition leader Freddy Guevara from prison. The opposition promised to take part in the regional elections.
The move to participate in elections is a reversal of a three-year boycott by the opposition and bolsters Maduro’s political legitimacy.
Tensions escalated in January 2019 following a contested presidential election between Maduro and Guaido. Maduro won with a landslide.
The situation briefly spiraled out of control when the United States said it recognized Juan Guaido’s as Venezuela’s “interim president”.
Then a massive fiasco transpired, with alleged terror attacks, blocking of humanitarian aid accused of not being “humanitarian” at all, incursions by obscure “hit squads” and more.
Venezuela has teetered on the brink of economic collapse since 2013, with the country witnessing hyperinflation and shortages of food and other necessities.
The Latin American nation has also struggled to cope with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as doctors and healthcare workers have left Venezuela en masse in recent years.
To assist in that, the US imposed heavy sanctions on officials and state businesses of Venezuela to pressure Maduro in resigning with his entire government and allowing the US-backed opposition to take control.
That failed entirely, as two years later the two sides are simply choosing to negotiate and solve the crisis, with Washington nowhere to be seen.
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