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Maduro Wants Venezuela Talks With Opposition In Mexico Next Month

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas last year.
Matias Delacroix
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas last year.

After the opposition recently signaled willingness to negotiate with Venezuela's authoritarian president, he says he ready to start the conversation, with Norway as the intermediary.

Two months ago, Venezuela’s political opposition said it was willing to negotiate with authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro. Now Maduro says he’s set to talk. It may mean Venezuela’s crisis is heading toward a solution — or not.

Maduro wants to start talks with Juan Guaidó and other Venezuelan opposition leaders next month in Mexico, and he wants Norway to broker them. Maduro also wants Washington to give its approval — because his big aim in negotiations is to get the United States. to lift economic sanctions against his regime, including a de facto U.S. embargo against Venezuelan oil imports.

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The opposition’s goal is to get Maduro to agree to transparent presidential and parliamentary elections. The U.S. and much of the world still recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s constitutionally legitimate president and not Maduro, whose 2018 re-election was widely regarded as fraudulent.

His authoritarian socialist regime is also widely blamed for the collapse of the country’s economy and democracy as well as its humanitarian crisis, the worst in modern South American history.

Despite that crisis, the opposition says this week the Maduro government has still sent 11 million barrels of Venezuela oil to its ally Cuba this year, to help prop up the communist regime there.

But Venezuela analysts tell WLRN, in the short run, the more realistic outcome of Maduro-opposition talks won’t be an end to the political standoff.

The first step instead may more likely be an agreement to let the international community send food, vaccines and other humanitarian aid into Venezuela without regime interference.

Maduro and the opposition had started Norway-mediated talks two years ago, but they were broken off under pressure from the Trump administration.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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