This past Saturday night, a meeting was held between President of Colombia Gustavo Petro and representatives of the far-right Venezuelan opposition belonging to the so-called Unitary Platform.
The meeting was held at the Presidential Treasury and was attended by the Colombian president and his foreign minister, Álvaro Leyva.
On behalf of the Venezuelan opposition, the head of the Unitary Platform negotiation team, Gerardo Blyde was present, together with Claudia Nikken and Alejandro Mora. In addition, Tomas Guanipa, Stalin González, Luis Emilio Rondón, Luis Aquiles Moreno and Roberto Enríquez were also present.
US to Send High-Level Delegation to International Conference on Venezuela in Colombia
This is the first time a meeting between President Petro and a delegation from the Venezuelan far-right opposition takes place. The meeting is part of the negotiations in the context of the International Conference on Venezuela that will take place in Bogotá on April 25.
The initiative, according to Petro, seeks to encourage an end to the economic blockade that weighs on the country, and clear the electoral road towards the 2024 presidential elections.
#AEstaHora se desarrolla la reunión con la oposición venezolana. Asisten el Presidente @petrogustavo, la Jefe de Despacho, @Laurisarabia, y el Canciller @Alvaroleyva. pic.twitter.com/ZULx6gvvc5
— Presidencia Colombia 🇨🇴 (@infopresidencia) April 23, 2023
After the meeting, both parties agreed that a date should be set for the 2024 presidential elections.
The Colombian foreign minister declared that he expects the elections to take place in 2024 and that a date should be agreed “in an accelerated manner, but not recklessly.”
“We hope that the elections will take place in 2024 with all the rules of the inter-American system… It is time to give a wake-up call to Latin America in the sense that what counts is democracy,” Leyva stated.
On his behalf, the head of the Unitary Platform delegation, Gerardo Blyde, described the meeting with Petro as “very good.”
“We consider it very important that a call comes out of that conference for the parties to return to the negotiation process in Mexico, which constitutes the fundamental tool that our people have to get out of the political, economic and social crisis that is plaguing them,” Blyde pointed out.
International Conference on Venezuela: Colombia’s President Petro Suggests Incorporating All Political Groups
Prior to the meeting, the Colombian president clarified that one of the objectives of this meeting with part of the Venezuelan opposition was to find out, from its point of view, the reasons why the negotiations in Mexico were paralyzed.
The Colombian Foreign Minister, Álvaro Leyva, affirmed that the Colombian government will invite more opposition leaders from outside the Unitary Platform for a similar meeting.
Given Petro’s initiative, it seems that the Venezuelan opposition is divided. Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s most well-known actor, has expressed his rejection of Bogotá’s requests to lift the sanctions against Caracas.
International Conference on Venezuela
This coming Tuesday, April 25, the International Conference on Venezuela will be held in Bogotá, sponsored by Petro, in order “to build a roadmap that allows for effective political dialogue.”
In this meeting, more than 20 foreign ministers will participate, including representatives of the United States, who will represent President Joe Biden.
It is worth noting that President Nicolás Maduro expressed his support of the Colombian initiative. The Venezuelan leader has shown on several occasions his willingness to advance the electoral process, however, the US and opposition’s lack of respect to the agreements reached in the Mexico Talks forced his government to interrupt the negotiations.
Similarly, dialogue is a constant in the government led by President Maduro. At the negotiating tables in Mexico, the government delegation questioned the blackmail raised by the United States and the opposition with the arrest of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab. Similarly, the Venezuelan government delegation demands the end of the economic blockade against Venezuela, as well as the return of the assets illegally frozen abroad.
(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigon, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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