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Venezuela’s Recall Referendum Is a Carrot on A Stick

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jul 25, 2016, 11:12 am
Unasur mediators contacted the Vatican for participation in the peace talks. According to political sources, they managed to achieve the alleged liberation of 22 political prisoners. (FM Center)
The Vatican may be participating in the peace talks. (FM Center)

EspañolPresident Nicolás Maduro’s administration is blackmailing the Venezuelan opposition into initiating talks about the results of a referendum to recall him from office.

“It will only set a date for the referendum if MUD agrees to talk,” an official within the government said. MUD (The Democratic Unity Party) comprises most of the political opposition to Maduro in Venezuela.

The governing body that legally informs and spearheads the approval of a referendum is the National Electoral Council, according to Venezuela’s constitution — not the Executive branch. But Venezuela appears to have far surpassed conceding to such rules.

According to the local newspaper El Nacional, Maduro’s adminstration claims it will decide the date of the referendum 15 days after starting talks at the latest.

Unasur mediators are former Presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Spain), Martín Torrijos (Panama) and Leonel Fernández (Dominican Republic). They contacted the Vatican to request its participation in the talks, which have yet to start. According to political sources, representatives of the catholic church managed to free 22 new political prisoners.

However, the participation of the Church and liberation of political prisoners are only two of the conditions set by the opposition. They also asked the government to fix a referendum date, respect for the National Assembly and a venue change that is not the Dominican Republic.

“Maduro wants to negotiate the referendum in the talks,” Opposition Leader and Governor of the state of Miranda Henrique Capriles Radonski said during a press conference, adding that the President of Venezuela “would give in to anything to end the revocation referendum” — which is non-negotiable.

A doubtful opposition

MUD has made it clear that without a referendum, there will be no talks. However, these new government conditions, in which it is agreed that they will free political prisoners and allow the Vatican into the talks, has made the opposition doubtful of its position.

Opposition Deputy Enrique Marquez said that to sit down for talks, a commitment in the humanitarian channel and economic rectification should be enough for his party.

On the other hand, President of the National Assembly Ramos Allup sees things differently. He pointed out that all organizations that make up MUD must discuss the proper path to take. They will discuss whether or not to decide to take part in the talks, even if the referendum isn’t acknowledged.

He explained that if the opposition decides to accept this proposal, the main discussion topic will be the revocation referendum. Also involved in those talks would be the humanitarian crisis, the freeing of political prisoners, freedom of speech and respect for the power of government institutions.

If conditions are met, the meeting between the government and opposition will be in Venezuela with a Vatican presence. No official date has been set.

Source: El Nacional

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.