Venezuela: Possible Start of a New Chapter Between Nicolás Maduro and the Opposition

With the summit on the political situation in Venezuela held in Bogotá in the last week of April, Latin America, the United States, and the European Union are looking forward to the restart of dialogue between the opposition and the government of Nicolás Maduro on the eve of the presidential elections. in 2024.

Summit on the political situation in Venezuela held in Bogotá

Photo: TW-infopresidencia

LatinAmerican Post | David García Pedraza

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Leer en español: Venezuela: posible inicio de un nuevo capítulo entre Nicolás Maduro y la oposición

The political and social situation in Venezuela has been, for a good time, the most debated and opined diplomatic issue both in the region and worldwide. The sanctions that the powers have imposed on the Maduro government have caused Venezuelan society to face a humanitarian crisis to such an extent that massive migration has affected Colombia and Chile mainly.

With the arrival of Gustavo Petro to power in Colombia, one of the main issues on his foreign agenda was to find a solution to the Bolivarian crisis. However, it is understood that the international community falls short as there is no dialogue between the opposition and the ruling party in Venezuela, which is why the Summit for Venezuela was held with the participation of 20 countries from the American continent, Europe, and Asia, plus the delegation of the European Union.

A Summit 'Out of the Script'

The region had normalized the Venezuelan crisis to the point of putting it aside from Latin American issues. Consequently, with this forgetfulness, the Latin American and US governments turned their backs on the Bolivarian crisis.

However, despite Petro's haste to announce this summit in March 2023, some twenty international representatives could take sides to even talk about this situation. From neighboring Brazil to distant Türkiye (Turkey), they accepted the call from Bogotá.

This summit, whose purpose was to achieve a joint position to achieve free Venezuelan elections in 2024, caused expectations in the region since it had not been possible to bring together so many foreign leaders and representatives since the failed dialogues in Mexico between detractors and supporters of the Maduro government.

The Meeting that Could Mark the Beginning of the End of the Crisis

Bringing together 20 international delegations in little more than four weeks was a demonstration of the goodwill of the participating nations to achieve a global consensus on how the Venezuelan crisis should be addressed. The striking thing about the meeting was the absence of the opposition and the ruling party, which was intended to prevent confrontations that could muddy the true intention of the summit.

Behind the closed doors of the Colombian Foreign Ministry, the pertinent issues were discussed to start the new course that international diplomacy would followto achieve the stabilization of Venezuela on the right foot.

In a brief statement to the press, the Colombian Minister of Foreign Relations, Álvaro Leyva, announced the three points in common that they reached the 20 nations present plus the European Union. The first is the need to work for free and proper elections in Venezuela by 2024, which was the main issue. The second aspect was the lifting of sanctions according to how the agreements between the opposition and the ruling party are developed, and the third point involves the re-establishment of negotiations between detractors and supporters of the Bolivarian government in Mexico, backed by Norway, in addition to implementing a fund trustee for Venezuelan social investment.

These three minutes will be duly informed in detail by members of the delegations attending both the Maduro government and the opposition, all to have the transparency that a situation like this needs.

The Relevance of this Summit for the Petro Government

Since his run for the presidency in 2022, Gustavo Petro has promised to restore diplomatic relations with Venezuela. to mitigate the damage that the uncontrollable Venezuelan migration has done to both countries. This summit is one of the great successes and demonstrations your government has achieved in less than a year in office.

This meeting could position the Colombian president as one of the Latin American region's most relevant current political referents. The first instance for being the first left-wing president that Colombia has had and the second for the organizational capacity and acceptance that the summit for Venezuela had, without neglecting the visit he recently had with Joe Biden, the president of the United States.

However, their scuffles with the governments of Peru, Guatemala, and El Salvador have kept him "at bay," in his opinion, even so, the outstanding work of taking the first step to at least correctly visualize the problem from Caracas.

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Regardless of the ideological and political position of nations, democracy is a crucial factor in determining the true freedom of a country, along with freedom of the press, and it is what this summit has tried to touch on at first contact. The search for mechanisms for Venezuela to have fair and free presidential elections in 2024. From Bogotá, the first step has been to dialogue, deliberate, and take group actions to pressure pro-government supporters and opponents to negotiate and focus on what is truly important: ordinary Venezuelan society.

It is expected that the next summit, without a date yet, between the same nations and delegations to verify progress and coordinate new minutes in common, will be more developable and less bureaucratic. This is to continue showing public opinion and the world the excellent will observed in this first meeting to close the chapter of Bolivarian instability and write a new one with freedom, democracy, and diplomacy as principal actors. 

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