Maduro suspends dialogue with opposition over its support for US embargo

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C), and his wife, Cilia Flores (L), during an act of government in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 7, 2019. EPA-EFE/MIRAFLORES PRESS

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C), and his wife, Cilia Flores (L), during an act of government in Caracas, Venezuela

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Leer en español: Maduro suspende el diálogo con la oposición por su apoyo al embargo de EE.UU


The president of Venezuela on Wednesday announced his government was suspending the scheduled talks with the opposition because its leader had shown support for the total economic embargo imposed by the United States on the South American country.

According to a government statement, Nicolas Maduro ordered his delegation to not travel to Barbados – where the talks were taking place under the auspices of Norway – in light of opposition leader Juan Guaido's backing of the new round of US sanctions.

"President Maduro has decided not to send the Venezuelan delegation on this occasion due to the grave and brutal aggression perpetrated in a continuous and wily fashion by the Trump administration against Venezuela," read the statement, which was posted on Twitter by Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez.

"We, Venezuelans, have noted with deep indignation that the head of the opposition delegation, Juan Guaido, praises, promotes and supports these harmful actions," the statement added.

It said that the Venezuelan opposition delegation appointed by Guaido – who has been recognized as the country's interim president by more than 50 nations – is already in Barbados.

The meetings between the Bolivarian regime and the opposition were scheduled for Thursday and Friday. This was meant to be the third round of talks on the island.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said in a letter to Congress that he was issuing an executive order freezing all assets of the Venezuelan government and linked entities and banning most economic transactions with them, allowing exemptions only for the provision of humanitarian aid and for official business conducted by the federal government.

Also read: Maduro says fugitive ex-leaders of FARC are 'welcome' in Venezuela

The latest move by the US can be seen as an escalation of measures seeking to further debilitate the Maduro-led government – as the oil-rich Caribbean nation continues to face a chaotic political and economic crisis – while attempting to bolster Guaido's power, following in the footsteps of sanctions that Washington had already imposed on Caracas at the beginning of the year.

Guaido had previously said that he wants to continue the process of dialogue with the ruling party despite the doubts expressed by some of his international allies.

The opposition leader, after hearing the position of US National Security Advisor John Bolton regarding the Norwegian-sponsored talks, acknowledged that he understood "the skepticism shown not only by Ambassador Bolton," but also by other allies.

He admitted that Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio and the members of the so-called International Contact Group had also expressed their reservations about this process.

Guaido insisted that the strategy to achieve "the cessation of usurpation" – in other words, Maduro's exit from power – had been proposed by “us Venezuelans" and said that he counted on "the world’s support."
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