Venezuelan opposition snubs Vatican-mediated talks

Venezuelan main opposition MUD coalition, has rejected the resumption of Pope-initiated negotiations with Nicolas Maduro's government to be held next month.

  • Date: 2016/12/25
  • Time: 10:41
  • News Code: 34375
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Venezuelan opposition snubs Vatican-mediated talks

Jesus Torrealba, the secretary general of Venezuela's main opposition MUD coalition

VON PRESS Americas: Jesus Torrealba, the leader of the opposition MUD coalition, made the announcement on Saturday, saying that his side would not resume stalled talks with the government in Caracas due to a number of demands that had not been met so far.

The MUD is demanding that the negotiations result in setting a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro or that the date of the presidential election due for December 2018 be brought forward. It also seeks the release of jailed opposition leaders.

"Conditions do not exist for the return to direct dialog between the parties on January 13," Torrealba said.

Under constitutional rules, the opposition must secure a recall referendum before January 10 if it wants to remove Maduro. Otherwise, the president or his allies will maintain power until 2019.

The talk being mediated by the Vatican are aimed at resolving the economic and political crises facing the country.

The crash of oil prices in 2014 triggered an economic crisis in Venezuela, leading to severe shortages of basic supplies and soaring inflation. While the center-right opposition holds Maduro's administration responsible for the country's the economic woes, the Venezuelan leader has blamed everything on a US-sponsored conspiracy.

Analysts have warned there is a risk of unrest in Venezuela, which Human Rights Watch says is in the grips of a "humanitarian crisis." Anti-government protests in 2014 led to clashes that left 43 people dead.

The center-right opposition blames Maduro's management for a deep economic crisis.

Polls show that more than half of Venezuelans want the president to stand down.

But the elected leftist leader has vowed to hold onto power at least until his term ends in 2019.




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