Members of the Venezuelan opposition have broken ranks with the Western-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido and signed an agreement with President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
During a nationally televised event attended by foreign diplomats on Monday, the representatives of several opposition parties agreed to enter into negotiations with the government in Caracas and concluded an agreement with Maduro’s top aides.
“The Bolivarian government maintains all of the doors open for dialog so as to solve the differences between Venezuelans in a peaceful manner,” Venezuela’s Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said at a press conference in the capital.
Rodriguez urged foreign states to cooperate with the Venezuelan government instead of “plotting military interventions.”
‘I oppose thoughtless confrontation’
Lawmaker Timoteo Zambrano, an opposition lawmaker speaking on behalf of the opposition factions, indirectly slammed Guaido and attempts led by anti-Maduro parties for violence in the Latin American country.
Calling for support from the international community, Zambrano said his opposition party alongside others aimed to recover time lost due to the “ambition of some and the mistakes of us all.”
Zambrano added that, “We will continue to come to agreements to remove obstacles which damage our democracy, it is not an easy path... I oppose the use of force [and] thoughtless confrontation without a way forward.”
Under the agreement, Maduro’s government and opposition parties pledged to focus on reforming Venezuela’s electoral board as well as finding a solution to the presence of parallel legislatures.
The government also issued permission for opposition lawmakers to return to the opposition-controlled National Assembly for the first time since 2017, when Maduro declared the body illegitimate.
“Everyone who wants to join and sign this agreement is welcome,” Maduro said later on Monday. “The starting point is to accept our difference and seek peace.”
The Monday agreement came less than 24 hours after Guaido ruled out further talks with the government in Caracas and urged his followers to engage in a “new stage of the struggle.”
The opposition figure said Norway-brokered negotiations with the government had been exhausted after seven rounds of talks, accusing Maduro and his allies of having “blocked a political solution” to the crisis by “refusing to discuss and agree on a sensible proposal.”
Guaido is currently facing a number of criminal investigations for embezzlement, treason, and most recently for his connections with Colombia paramilitary groups.
Guaido pushed the country into political turmoil by rejecting the outcome of the May 2018 election, which Maduro won, and instead declared himself “president.” He had not even run in the election.
The United States has backed Guaido, confiscated all Venezuelan state property in America, and has hinted at the use of force to install Guaido.
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