After completing their second meeting in as many weeks last night, the PSUV and the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) met today to continue a dialogue process that began after the Vatican intervened in the country’s political crisis in late October. The announcement of the continuation of the talks into the weekend was made by UNASUR president Ernesto Samper, who has also been involved in the dialogue.
Samper also announced that the two sides had agreed to allow “social actors” to join the dialogue, presumably meaning that civil society groups might be able to send representatives to speak on their behalf at the different roundtables that make up the dialogue process.
After today’s meeting wrapped up, the PSUV and the MUD issued a statement which the two sides expressed their willingness to move forward with the dialogue. The statement also outlines the five agreements that the two sides have reached so far.
Below, my translation of the MUD’s statement outlining the five agreements:
We went to speak to the people of Venezuela to let them know that we have reached the following agreements inthe [dialogue] convened by the Vatican and UNASUR:
- [Parliametnary] elections in Amazonas [state].
- We agreed to respect the autonomy, constitutionality and attributes of the National Assembly.
- A consensus election of the new members of the Consejo Nacional Electoral in order to create a neutral body.
- The freeing of prisoners in the coming hours.
- We have also achieved in terms of the economy and social [matters] important promises from the government in order to allow urgently-needed food and medicine to help our neediest compatriots to enter the country, as well as a promise to put forward policies that will allow the public and private sector to find efficient and transparent ways to import and distribute merchandise and supplies.
The goal of this dialogue is to build an electoral solution to this political crisis. This is why we are making every effort to activate the recall referendum, which was taken hostage, or to move towards national presidential elections. Today’s decisions are an achievement that goes beyond party boundaries, since [the results came about through] the pressure that millions of Venezuelans have put on the government so that it will be left with no other option but to follow the constitutional path.
What we have committed ourselves to is to fight for the constitutional order. We are achieving this, but we must continue until we reach the most impiortant goal: national elections or the recall referendum. This is an achievement of the Venezuelan people, but we want tos tress that in order to achieve change we must all be united and walking in the same direction. It has been shown that only truly united are we strongest.
No further details are available at this time. It is not clear exactly how or when each of the five agreements will be made into reality.
MUD: Next Talks Will Focus on Elections, Recall
The mayor of the Sucre municipality of Caracas, Carlos Ocariz, said that the next meetings will focus on setting dates for the recall referendum or early presidential elections.
Our intention is to find an electoral solution in order to overcome this crisis. The agreements we have reached are taking us in that direction.
Archbishop of Caracas: Success of Talks Depends Mostly on Gov’t
Urosa Savino, the Archbishop of Caracas, said yesterday that the success of the government-opposition dialogue depends mostly on the government, given its relative position of power over the opposition. Savino described the two sides in the following way:
The government is like a lion, and the opposition is like a tied-up rabbit. The opposition has very few resources, but it does count with support from a majority of Venezuelans.
On the government’s responsibilities during the talks, Savino said:
[The success of the talks] depends on the actors, specially the government, in the hands of which many decisions lie. The government must show evidence that it has the political will [to see] the dialogue become an effective solution to problems. This economic, political and social crisis will not be resolved without transcendental decisions by the government.
Humanitarian Crisis Declaration “Not Pertinent”, Says Gov’t Rep at UN
Jorge Valero, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council, was interviewed on the Vladimir a la 1 television show yesterday.
During the interview, Valero was asked why the Maduro government has not yet declared a humanitarian crisis in the country, a move which would pave the way for the international community and NGOs to deliver sorely-needed aid in the form of food and medical supplies to the country. Valero replied by simply saying that the Maduro government does not consider declaring a humanitarian crisis “pertinent at the moment”.
Venezuela is suffering through its most severe and prolonged humanitarian crisis in living memory. Food, medicine, and basic necessities are scarce or prohibitively expensive, forcing millions of Venezuelans to live on the verge of starvation.
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