For the sixth time since 2014, the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition have opened a new round of negotiations – now publicized by Norway and carried out in Mexico. The first meeting, behind closed doors, takes place this Friday (13), and the Mexican government says it expects a conclusion within 180 days.
On the Chavista side, participate Jorge Rodríguez (President of the National Assembly), Hector Rodríguez (Governor of the State of Miranda) and Maduro’s son, Nicolás Maduro Guerra. On the opposition side are the President of the Table of Democratic Unity, Gerardo Blyde, and former Congressmen Stalin González and Tomás Guanipa.
The dictatorship wants the end of economic sanctions against the country and against senior government officials. He is also asking for recognition of the last presidential elections, which he claims to have won, although there is evidence of fraud.
The opposition, in turn, calls for free elections, the release of political prisoners, the return of exiles and an investigation into human rights violations. But there is some consternation on this side of the negotiating table. Leaders Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López told Folha that they would not accept a partial result, only the approval of all of the demands.
The negotiations will be followed by several countries. Russia will follow Chavez’s negotiators, while the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom will follow the opposition. Norway hopes to experience the same success it achieved in its participation in the peace agreement between the Colombian state and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in 2016.
In Venezuela, the population is appalled by the outcome of the conversations. According to the Datincorp Institute, only 51% of the population believe that there will be solutions to the serious humanitarian, political and economic crisis. Among opponents, it is feared that its leaders have lost popularity in recent times, with López at 14% and Guaidó at 21%, according to Datanálisis.
With the end of the mandate of the National Assembly, elected in 2015, with an opposed majority, the Chavismo once again strengthened and commanded all powers. There are regional elections scheduled for November, and the dictatorship says they will be clean and legitimate.
To convey this image, the new electorate admitted two representatives of the opposition. But opponents say that is not enough. “What if there are two non-Chavistas?” This is already false from the start, because the law says that the five rectors of the CNE [Conselho Nacional Eleitoral] they must be independent. If there are three that belong to the dictatorship, that is already wrong, “López told Folha.” We will only agree with free and transparent elections with a new independent CNE. “
The negotiations are also important for Mexico. Left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said he wants the OAS (Organization of American States) to be replaced by a fully Latin American body, while taking steps to assume a regional role. Successful negotiations on Venezuela are essential to achieve this goal.
The Venezuelan opposition hopes that, in the coming hours, the regime will set an example of goodwill by releasing some political prisoners. Guaidó calls in particular for Freddy Guevara, imprisoned a month ago and member of his cabinet when he was head of the National Assembly. Guevara’s family demand that his release be immediate, as he suffers from cardiac arrhythmia and is trapped in the Helicoid, a prison known for the mistreatment of prisoners.