EspañolDespite controversy and multiple cancelations, it appears that a dialogue between Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela and the country’s opposition will continue — this time, with Mexico’s involvement.
On Tuesday October 10, Mexico Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray announced that he will play witness to the dialogue hosted by former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and current Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina. Videgaray said that the dialogue is also backed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
He said that these negotiations will be credible, conducted in good faith and with “clear objectives and concrete timelines for achievement, in which the responsibilities of the (two sides) are well-defined and accepted by both parties.”
The Mexican official added that he hoped to “contribute in a constructive way to the resolution of the serious crisis that our brother nation is facing.”
The Chancellor confirmed during a Senate appearance that on September 17, he received a formal invitation from his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza to join the “process of political dialogue” between the Maduro regime and the political opposition. In the letter, Arreaza thanked Videgaray in advance for his participation “in the framework of absolute respect for Venezuelan sovereignty.”
Invitación de Venezuela a México para participar como país acompañante en el Proceso de Diálogo Político entre el gobierno y la oposición pic.twitter.com/Q1VK246LUB
— SRE México (@SRE_mx) October 10, 2017
Venezuela invites Mexico to participate in the talks between the government and the opposition.
The Venezuelan regime reportedly believes that the appointment of foreign participants in the talks is evidence that a resolution with the opposition, grouped into the Democratic Unity Table political coalition, is close to materializing. Therefore, the Venezuelan opposition had called for the formation of a group of neutral countries to oblige the Chavista government in playing their part in eventual agreements, and to prevent the talks from becoming a sterile debate once again.
In addition to Mexico, the opposition has considered inviting Chile and Paraguay. The latter has maintained a very clear position against Maduro’s regime, and was a vocal leader of Venezuela’s suspension from the trade bloc, Mercosur.
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Currently, the Venezuelan government relies on the support of Bolivia and Nicaragua as well as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — small Caribbean countries still dependent on Venezuelan oil.
Venezuelan Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Ali de Jesus Uzcategui, said that the next meeting between the regime and the opposition will be held next week. “I understand that at the government’s suggestion, it will be held next week. I say this because we have the October 15 (gubernatorial) elections, which is why they will be held either this week or next.”
In mid-September, both sides held two-day “exploratory meetings” with the endorsement of Dominican President Danilo Medina, who announced that Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and Nicaragua would join in the talks.
But the criticisms of the process were not long in coming. Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro demanded that the dialogue between the regime and opposition be based not on “power sharing” but rather on the “re-democratization of the country.”
“We demand that peace, democracy and freedom are not negotiated,” he said, “because they are our highest assets and they can not be waived. We can’t allow the regime to usurp Venezuela’s most valuable assets.”
In January, the opposition said it would not participate in any more talks if the regime couldn’t fulfill its commitments, including the release of political prisoners, acceptance of humanitarian aid and the establishment of an election calendar. Maduro’s repeated disregard for the agreements made with the opposition even caused the Vatican to step away from talks earlier this year.