The Venezuelan government and the platform of opposition forces in the country signed a historic agreement in Mexico City on Friday August 14. The move represents an important advance to address the political crisis faced by the country for the past several years as US-backed opposition forces have turned to radical and violent methods in an attempt to force the democratically elected government of Nicolás Maduro out of office. Venezuelan officials are also hopeful that the talks can help to lift the crushing unilateral coercive measures imposed by the US and its allies which have already cost billions of dollars in economic losses and tens of thousands of lives.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed on Friday between the government and opposition forces addresses 7 key agreements: 1.- Political rights for all; 2.- Electoral guarantees for all and a timetable for observable elections established in the Bolivarian Constitution; 3. – Respect for the Constitutional Rule of Law; 5.- Political and social coexistence, renunciation of violence, reparation for the victims of political violence; 6.- Protection of the national currency and social protection measures for the people; and 7.- Guarantees for the implementation, follow-up and verification of the agreements.
On August 5, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador had announced in a press conference that Mexico would serve as the host of the dialogues with the Kingdom of Norway acting as the facilitator of the talks. The Norwegian representative, Dag Nylander, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, also participated in the preliminary talks held on August 14.
The memorandum also highlights that the delegations should work for the welfare of the Venezuelan population, guarantee all democratic measures of political, social and economic participation, respect the Venezuelan State, the sovereignty and self-determination of Venezuelans and to lift all unilateral sanctions, in violation of Human Rights and International Law.
They also outlined the need for a comprehensive, peaceful negotiation process with the grounding principles of social and political coexistence and absolute respect for the Bolivarian Constitution.
In his opening speech, the head of the government delegation Jorge Rodriguez, thanked Mexico for hosting and Norway for acting as a mediator in the negotiations. He emphasized the importance of the peace dialogues as an opportunity for Venezuelans to resolve their differences amongst themselves and not with outside actors.
Gerardo Blyde who is representing the opposition’s Unitary Platform called on Venezuelans to “give this process a chance and to participate in the construction and development of this agenda with your proposals and ideas.”
He also expressed his gratitude for the support and interest shown by the international community in the search for options to overcome the existing differences, “each party has had to give up part of its narrative to achieve a middle ground at the beginning, with the conviction that the process is more than necessary.”
Based on reports by Alba Ciudad