BOGOTA – The Venezuelan government and the opposition came together for the fourth dialogue since 2012 in Mexico, earlier this month. Norway mediated the discussions between the two countries, yet expectations among most Venezuelans remain low.
Representatives of Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition sat down for negotiations in Mexico City, signing a memorandum agreeing on the subjects to be debated.
Maduro’s resignation will not be on the table, in many ways showing the parallel government by the opposition’s Juan Guaido has failed to dislodge the regime. Guaidó, whom the U.S. and other countries recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, had consistently rejected any coexistence with Maduro, but he abandoned that position when he proposed the national agreement for the first time in May.
The opposition now hoping to push for guarantees of a free and fair regional election in November, as well as a push for the liberation of dozens of political prisoners. It will also seek to promote a plan for massive imports of COVID-19 vaccines and a “National Salvation Agreement” that would involve negotiations with Maduro’s government and its local allies, opposition organizations and the international community.
In a possible sign of good will, Maduro’s government released opposition leader Freddy Guevara when the talks began.
Guevara now suggesting he may join the talks in Mexico.
For Maduro, his goal is the removal of U.S. sanctions on the communist country. Analysts suggest that Maduro’s only interest in these negotiations is to get the Biden administration to ease the sanctions that were toughened by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
“Negotiation, it’s a tool that has always been used in times of crisis,” said Benigno Alarcón Deza, Director of Political Studies and Government of the Andrés Bello Catholic University.
Alarcón says anything can happen, as long as it doesn’t include a change of power.
Confieso que me esfuerzo por comprender el punto de vista de algunos respetables colegas sobre que hace a esta negociación distinta a las anteriores y, pese a analizarlo desde distintas perspectivas, sigo sin ser optimista sobre la disposición del régimen a una solución política— Benigno Alarcón Deza (@benalarcon) August 12, 2021
The governments of the United States, European Union and Canada have all signaled they may be willing to ease sanctions if significant progress in made in the next few weeks.
Just this week, Peru offered to host the next round of talks, set for September 3.