Venezuela’s government and opposition pushed on Tuesday with talks aimed at soothing their country’s political crisis, but President Nicolas Maduro’s bid for virtually unopposed re-election in early polls weighed heavily on the negotiations. The government’s chief negotiator, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez, said “electoral guarantees” for the vote would be on the table — as was the issue of US economic sanctions that have worsened Caracas’ precarious finances. “We are working on all the issues and we have narrowed positions on all the issues,” he said as he arrived at the Dominican Republic’s foreign ministry, the venue for the talks overseen by several Latin American foreign ministers. The latest round of negotiations opened on December 1.
Other topics being discussed are the government’s demand that the opposition recognize the Constituent Assembly — a legislative body filled with Maduro loyalists that overrides the opposition-dominated parliament — and solutions for the economic crisis, marked by hyperinflation and lack of food and medicine.
Friction between the government and the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD in Spanish), rose last week when the Constituent Assembly announced that presidential elections, due for December, were being brought forward to some time before the end of April.
Full Article: Venezuela talks move forward under shadow of early election.