Venezuelan government and opposition sectors sign a new partial agreement

The head of the government delegation, Jorge Rodríguez, reported that the agreement creates a mechanism aimed at recovering Venezuelan resources blocked abroad and using the same to address vital social needs of the people

November 28, 2022 by Tanya Wadhwa
The delegations of the Venezuelan government and the opposition signed a second partial agreement on social matters for the protection of the Venezuelan people on November 26 in Mexico City. Photo: Nicolás Maduro/Twitter

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the platform of far-right opposition sectors resumed the dialogue and negotiation process after a year-long pause, on Friday, November 25, in Mexico City, Mexico.

Following the meeting, on Saturday, November 26, the delegations of the government and the opposition signed a second partial agreement on social matters for the protection of the Venezuelan people.

This agreement stipulates, among other aspects, the cooperation between the government and the opposition in the management of $3 billion USD in Venezuelan funds frozen in international accounts due to the US sanctions. It also establishes a joint commission to follow and verify the correct implementation of the agreement.

The agreement had been previously discussed in Caracas with the mediator Norway. The president of the National Assembly and the head of the government delegation, Jorge Rodríguez, on Thursday, November 24, reported that this social agreement “creates a practical mechanism, aimed at addressing vital social needs and issues related to public services, based on the recovery of legitimate resources, owned by the Venezuelan State, which are currently blocked in the international financial system.”

Rodríguez stated that “the agreement expresses the advancement of the right of our people to enjoy their assets and resources, illegally and unjustly blocked, by placing social needs at the center of the attention of the National Dialogue Table.”

He explained that “the rescued resources will be used to strengthen the national public health system, recovery of infrastructure, provision of supplies, vaccines and medicines for the people throughout the country as well as to expand and reinforce the electric power service, attention to the school infrastructure, attention to emergency needs due to torrential rains, and food support programs.”

The dialogue process began in Mexico in August 2021. It had been suspended since October 2021. The Venezuelan government withdrew from the process after the illegal detention and extradition of Venezuela’s special diplomatic envoy, Alex Saab, to the United States from Cape Verde on alleged money laundering charges.

Through the statement, Rodríguez on behalf of the government reiterated its “firm rejection of the illegal detention of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab in the United States, demanded his immediate release, and his full incorporation as a member of the Venezuelan Government delegation.”

Following the meeting, in a press conference, Rodríguez said that the talks were aimed to achieve peace and prosperity and that “Venezuelan affairs get settled through dialogue within the framework provided by the Constitution.”

He celebrated that “through this agreement, we will acquire medicines for more than 60,000 cancer patients in Venezuela.”

The negotiation process is crucial for Venezuela and its people, as it could provide for lifting of the US imposed sanctions, which have greatly impacted their ability to access basic, everyday items such as food, medicine, and fuel. It is one of the major demands of the Venezuelan government as they have cost billions of dollars in economic losses to the country.

In the previous three rounds of dialogue, the government and the opposition reached important agreements. In August 2021, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Dialogue. In September 2021, they signed two agreements, recognizing Venezuela’s sovereignty over Guayana Esequiba and establishing mechanisms to recover Venezuela’s resources overseas to support the population amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Maduro had announced the reactivation of the dialogue process in March, after meeting with a high-level delegation from the US government. The development came following the imposition of sanctions on Russia and Russian-exported fuel over the crisis in Ukraine. In imposing the sanctions, the US and European countries lost a key supplier of energy. Amid global energy crunch, the US was forced to review its policies on Venezuela.

As speculated, the delegations also advanced on the US oil agenda in Venezuela and discussed an extension of license for the US oil giant Chevron to operate in Venezuela.

Following the signing of the agreement, the US Treasury Department announced the approval of an expanded license to allow Chevron to resume pumping and commercializing Venezuelan crude from its four-joint ventures in the country.

Likewise, the representatives also discussed the conditions for the presidential elections planned for 2024. For years, the right-wing sectors have carried unsubstantiated “election fraud” claims to promote the US imperialist interests in the country.