Talks between Venezuela’s government and its opposition will continue after the nation’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaido previously stated that there were no plans to resume discussions with the “murderous dictatorship of Maduro.”
No specific dates were announced for the now re-opened discussion, which has been relocated to Barbados instead of its previous location in Norway.
Norway’s Foreign Ministry stated, “We emphasize the importance of the parties showing utmost caution in their comments and statements about the process,” in reference to the continued negotiations.
In addition, President Maduro announced in a television broadcast that the parties were continuing discussions in a “permanent manner.”
The two rival parties began their dialogue for the first time when representatives of the government and opposition met in Oslo in late May. The talks were facilitated by Norwegian auspices two weeks prior in hopes of resolving some of the main crises plaguing the country.
A five-year recession has left the nation struggling with shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities.
This severe recession “has resulted in malnutrition and disease and spurred a migration exodus of more than 4 million citizens,” states Reuters, an international news organization. The UN estimates that over 7 million Venezuelans need urgent humanitarian aid.
Maduro attributes the nation’s economic crisis and hyperinflation to a U.S.-led pressure campaign, which includes sanctions that target oil exports crucial for the oil-rich country’s financial success.
Tensions between the Venezuelan government and its people were further exacerbated in January when Guaido, the National Assembly speaker, invoked the constitution and challenged the authority of Maduro’s presidency. Guaido declared himself to be acting president after declaring Maduro’s re-election a fraud.
He is currently recognized as the interim president by over 50 countries, including the U.S. However, Maduro, who is backed by China, Cuba, and Russia, remains in power.
There are concerns from Maduro’s adversaries, who warn that the president has previously used dialogue proceedings to stall. Guaido, however, insists that the opposing party will not allow for these rounds—the one in Barbados will be the third to be prolonged.
Guaido hopes that the talks will lead to dislodging Maduro from the presidency, moving the country towards a transitional government and then to “free elections with international observers,” according to Aljazeera.
Stalin Gonzalez, a legislator and member of the opposition wrote on Twitter: “The Venezuelan people need answers and results. Our delegation will hold consultations to advance and end the Venezuelans’ suffering.”
The decision to continue the dialogue despite its previous cancellation was one of the best possible decisions. As protests in Venezuela become increasingly more violent, both Venezuelan and international political actors need to be more responsive to their calls for reform.
The people of Venezuela need to be heard.
Venezuela needs this international mediation to facilitate dialogue between rival factions. The country’s government and people are torn, and as conflicts continue to arise, more and more innocent people are caught in the middle. It is vital that a solution is reached that promotes the well-being of the Venezuelan people and not the political agendas of the actors involved.
It will take a collaborative effort to resolve the long-standing and deep-seated problems associated with the Venezuelan conflict, which includes U.S. sanctions and the Venezuelan people’s distrust of their own government. However, it is incredibly vital that all parties involved handle the situation with discretion and with Venezuela’s future success in mind.