Caracas, April 21, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com)—The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, suggested that “all political and social forces of Venezuela” should join the upcoming International Conference on Venezuela to hosted by Petro, scheduled for Tuesday, April 25. Thus, he suggested an expansion of the original Venezuelan political dialogue between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the extreme-right opposition sector Unitary Platform.
“In Venezuela, new forces have arisen, new groups that were not in the Unitary Platform, and I think that they should be included,” the Colombian president said on Friday, April 21, in a meeting with journalists hours before a scheduled meeting with delegates from the anti-Chavista Unitary Platform in Bogota.
“It is a personal position, and obviously, I cannot impose it,” President Petro continued. “But it seems to me that all the political and social forces in Venezuela, those that support the government as well as those that oppose it, should participate in the great political dialogue, which ultimately is also a dialogue for peace.”
#Video El presidente Gustavo Petro pidió que se incluyan otras fuerzas de oposición de Venezuela en el diálogo con el Gobierno de Nicolás Maduro y, dijo que el diálogo de la otra semana busca destrabar la mesa de México #VocesySonidos pic.twitter.com/qIRewStH6r
— BluRadio Colombia (@BluRadioCo) April 21, 2023
President Petro also made comments on the scheduled meeting that he was holding with the Unitary Platform delegates on Friday and Saturday, stating that he considered it important to know their position regarding the progress of the negotiations, the reason for its interruption, the electoral guarantees they are requesting, and their willingness to participate in the 2024 presidential elections.
“That position seems important to me in view of the meeting that we have next week, which is the International Conference on Venezuela, in which the Venezuelan government and about 20 European, Latin American, and North American states will participate to look for the most effective ways to solve a problem that afflicts the people of Venezuela above all,” Petro stated.
President Maduro Supports Petro’s International Conference on Venezuela
Petro criticizes illegal sanctions on Venezuela
A recent statement by President Gustavo Petro, saying that the conference will focus on zero sanctions and more democracy for Venezuela, was criticized by far-right analysts, who claim that Petro is more interested in ending the unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela than guaranteeing respect for “human rights and democracy.”
Petro has also announced that the International Conference on Venezuela does not intend to replace the Mexico Talks, which remains “frozen.”
President Petro To Convene International Conference to Promote Venezuelan Dialogue, US & Opposition On Board
From the Venezuelan far-right opposition side, some politicians, like Stalin González, who had participated in the Mexico Talks, stressed that the sanctions allow Chavismo to justify itself and deflect responsibility for Venezuela’s problems in the eyes of the international left and the PSUV base. Similarly, Fernando Blasi, the new fake ambassador of the “interim government” to Washington, recently requested the Biden administration to relax the sanctions regime on Venezuela to avoid “growing authoritarianism and economic stress.”
The use of illegal US and European sanctions have become a complex issue due to varying opinions on the subject among opposition leaders. While some analysts point out that the lifting of sanctions will significantly reduce the interest of the Venezuelan government to be at a negotiation table, the general consensus is that the sanctions exacerbate the economic stress that millions of Venezuelans are suffering on a regular basis.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
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