Mexico to be site of Venezuelan government-opposition talks

Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Mexico will host a new round of talks between Venezuela’s government and opposition with Norway mediating, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Thursday.

Without providing more details, López Obrador said Mexico offered to be the site of talks expected to begin Aug. 13 between representatives of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition.

“We accept because we are looking for dialogue and agreement between the parties,” López Obrador said.

Previous attempts at dialogue in 2019 in Oslo and Barbados failed to bring the sides to agreement.

In 2017 and 2018, representatives of the Venezuelan government and opposition held talks in the Dominican Republic that were mediated by the international community, but they were also unsuccessful.

But the U.S. and its allies appeared ready to give the latest talks a chance. Among the delegates at the talks will be Carlos Vecchio. Vecchio is the U.S. representative of Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by the United States and dozens of other countries as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

Guaido wrote in his Twitter account that Venezuela’s situation — marked by economic collapse and the coronavirus pandemic — “is unsustainable.”

“We should make efforts so that the negotiation that is about to start reaches an agreement, Venezuela needs it,” he wrote. The goal of the talks is “free and fair elections and guarantees for everyone.”

A State Department spokesman, speaking on background, said “creating the necessary conditions to enable free and fair elections to take place in Venezuela requires Maduro regime representatives to engage in sincere discussions with the opposition, led by interim President Juan Guaidó, that result in a comprehensive negotiated solution to the Venezuelan crisis.”

“These negotiations, which must be led by the Venezuelans themselves, should include participation from all Venezuelan stakeholders, allow for the unconditional release of all those unjustly detained for political reasons, be time-bound, and permit Venezuelans to express themselves politically through free and fair local, parliamentary, and presidential elections.”