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Venezuela's government evaluates return to Parliament

The Venezuelan government is evaluating the return of the official deputies to the National Assembly controlled by the opposition and a change in the electoral body, in search of "extending the political dialogue," one of his representatives said on Monday.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza enters the National Assembly.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza enters the National Assembly. / Via REUTERS

Reuters | Corina Pons y Mayela Armas

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Leer en español: Gobierno de Venezuela evalúa vuelta al Parlamento

Reuters had access to a preliminary draft with the proposal shortly before Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez announced on the state television a "national table" for dialogue in which a minority opposition group will participate, other than the one led by the chief of the Congress, Juan Guaidó, with the support of the great political parties.

A few hours earlier, the opposition coalition put an end to talks sponsored by Norway on the Caribbean island of Barbados with the Government of Maduro, which left the discussion table six weeks ago unhappy about the increase in US sanctions. "It is an agreement for Venezuelans and among Venezuelans and is in full evolution," said Rodriguez, surrounded by four opposition leaders representing small political parties.

In the text of the document that they signed in a brief act with the presence of the diplomatic corps it is mentioned that "a national table has been formed in order to agree on partial agreements" and adds that the political forces that wish may participate.

In no paragraph do they mention the discussion that was promoted from Oslo, backed by the European Union and other countries in the region, to find a way out of the political crisis and the economic collapse of the oil nation.

WITHOUT COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT

According to the text, the ruling party agreed to sign that document to discuss a change of the authorities of the National Electoral Council, one of the bodies questioned by the opposition, which stopped participating in the last presidential elections when denouncing fraud.

It is also mentioned as the first point of the initial agreement between the parties, that the official legislators will again occupy their seats in Parliament, after they retired in 2017 when Maduro formed the National Constituent Assembly.

However, the text does not propose eliminating the Constituent, which presides over the second strong man of the government, Diosdado Cabello, who has been unknown by the great parties that oppose Maduro and dozens of governments in the world.

Read also: Venezuelan opposition says that dialogue with Maduro "sold out"

One of the negotiators for the opposition in the failed dialogue of Barbados, Stalin González, said Monday that under the auspices of Norway they were discussing "a comprehensive agreement", which contemplated changes in public powers to go to a presidential election, when the Government he retired. He says that within the ruling party there is pressure to resume that negotiation.

In parallel to the official announcement, the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, told reporters that in the negotiation with the support of Norway the opposition proposed the creation of a transitional government council, where all the political forces would participate, before calling elections .

The document that supports the new national dialogue table does not mention any possibility of a transition to go to a new presidential election. The text only "urges" the judicial system to review the cases of some prisoners, without giving further details.

On the economic issue, the document includes a program of "oil exchange for food and medicine", which was part of a discussion to seek to make more flexible the financial sanctions imposed by the United States that make it difficult for the government to charge for oil shipments.

The economist Francisco Rodríguez, one of the promoters of that initiative, warned that this exchange plan is not feasible without the support of the United States and the Guaidó team. Other economists warn that the economic recovery and review of sanctions depend on an agreement between all political forces.

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