The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), Venezuela’s political opposition bloc, announced today that it would not participate in talks with the PSUV that were tentatively scheduled to start tomorrow in the Dominican Republic. The announcement is likely to spell an end for a dialogue effort that has been underway since mid-September.
The announcement came from National Assembly deputy Luis Florido, who was appointed by the MUD to head the exploratory effort for talks with the PSUV. Earlier today, Florido told reporters:
An exploratory process sets out to create the conditions in order for a negotiation [to take place]. We have been working to create these conditions, but the requirements for the start of [negotiation] process in the Dominican Republic are not present, and the government has not met previous requirements.
During the last round of talks in the Dominican Republic earlier this month, the MUD made it clear that the opposition would not sit and dialogue with the regime unless a set of conditions were met which included the release of all political prisoners and the immediate announcement of presidential elections for next year.
Florido explained aside from these initial conditions, the Maduro regime committed itself to making other concessions before today, but that “it did not meet” those goals. El Universal explains that some of these concessions included allowing representatives from six regional countries to participate in the dialogue as neutral assessors of the process.
Florido also stressed that any future dialogue between the opposition and the PSUV must first be preceded by “very clear actions” from the regime as evidence for its willingness to engage in meaningful and concrete discussions with the bloc.
MUD/PSUV dialogue is hotly debate issue in Venezuela, due in large part to the fact that many opposition supporters adamantly oppose talks with what they consider to be a dictatorial regime.
NGO Sends List of 487 Political Prisoners to OAS
The Foro Penal Venezolano (Venezuelan Penal Forum) (FPV), a human rights NGO that provides legal services to victims of regime repression, forwarded a list today of the country’s 487 political prisoners to Luisa Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS).
According to the FPV list, the state with the largest number of political prisoners is Zulia (103), followed by Aragua (73) and Miranda (72).
The letter was certified as valid by the OAS shortly after reception early this afternoon, as confirmed by tweet from Almagro.
FPV also pointed out that there are currently 6,983 individuals who are not incarcerated, but are nevertheless subject to legal restrictions for their protest activities.
Police Arrest 10 Demonstrators In Chacao
The Chacao municipal police arrested 10 protesters this afternoon while they were setting up an anti-government protest, the second demonstration to take place in the area in as many days.
According to El Nacional, a group of demonstrators was congregating in the Bolivar Plaza of Chacao in preparation for a peaceful march when a group of Chacao municipal police officers arrived in the scene. Before the march could start, the police arrested the individuals, place them inside a bus and drove them to a police station.
The newspaper also reports that the police only arrested the ten men who formed part of the protest group, leaving all of the women behind. One of the female protesters told the newspaper:
We weren’t even protesting. We were sitting in the plaza and the police surrounded us. We didn’t carry drugs or weapons: just some Venezuelan flags.
In Venezuela, municipal police forces are usually under the control of the municipal entity to which they belong. However, the Chacao state police is currently under the direct control of the Ministry of the Interior, after the organization was taken over by the Maduro regime last year.
Maduro Demands “Maximum Loyalty”, Oiled Rifles from Military
At an act commemorating the Venezuelan military in Aragua earlier this afternoon, Maduro demanded “maximum loyalty” from soldiers in light of what he considers to be a string of recent threats from the government of the United States.
Calling on all service members to do their part to ensure that Venezuela continues to be “a land of peace and tranquility” into the foreseeable future, Maduro took a swing at Trump, saying:
Let the braggarts keep their threats. They’ll end up eating them, because no one touches Venezuela.
Maduro continued his attack against the United States, saying:
We have been threatened by the most criminal empire that has ever existed in the history of humanity.
In light of these threats, Maduro called on the Venezuelan military machine to stand at the ready, saying:
When they ask us what we want to be, [we say] free an sovereign. Not slaves, and not to be submitted to or be subordinate to any empire. What do we want? Development, the prosperity of our fatherland, a solution to its problems, peace and tranquility. But in order for all of that to become a reality, we most have our rifles, missiles and tanks well-oiled and all of our plans ready in order to defend every palm tree in our national territory, if it comes to that.
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