VENEZUELA’S President Nicolas Maduro’s government will resume talks with the opposition tomorrow after more than a year, said the leader of neighbouring Colombia, who is backing the negotiations.
“Dialogue between Maduro’s government and the Venezuelan opposition will resume November 25-26,” Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro wrote on Twitter.
International mediators have been pushing for the parties to resume talks in a bid to resolve a political crisis that has gripped the country since a contested 2018 presidential election.
Maduro declared himself the victor of the poll, which was widely seen as fraudulent, prompting massive protests.
Meanwhile, almost 60 countries, including the United States, recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s acting president.
The US and the European Union imposed painful sanctions on Venezuela, worsening an economy in free fall, prompting millions to flee the country.
After two prior negotiation efforts failed, the most recent round of talks between government and opposition started in August 2021 in Mexico.
However, Maduro suspended the negotiations two months later in retaliation for the extradition to the United States by Cape Verde of Alex Saab, a Colombian national accused of acting as a money launderer for the Venezuelan socialist leader.
The opposition is seeking free and fair presidential elections, next due in 2024, while Caracas wants the international community to recognise Maduro as the rightful president and lift sanctions.
Colombia’s Petro has become involved since becoming his country’s first leftist president in August.
He has worked to improve his country’s relationship with Venezuela, resuming diplomatic ties for the first time since 2019, when former president Ivan Duque refused to recognise Maduro’s election.
Venezuela is now also hosting peace talks between the Colombian government and the last official rebel group in the country, the National Liberation Army. – AFP, November 24, 2022.