Mexico President Starts Cozying Up To Socialist Venezuela

( Last month, Venezuelan President Maduro disclosed that, with the support of Norway and Mexico, he was hoping to meet with his political opposition to conduct “dialogue and negotiation.” And last week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed that these talks are taking place, and Mexico will host them.

President Lopez Obrador, while keeping mum on the specifics, did tell reporters that Mexico would play host to the two parties in hopes that there be dialogue and agreements between the Maduro government and the opposition parties.

The talks are likely to begin on August 13, though what the parties plan to discuss remains unclear. For his part Venezuela’s Maduro remains steadfast that the agenda must focus primarily on the lifting of US sanctions put in place by former President Donald Trump in 2018.

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, meanwhile, has said the opposition hopes to use the talks in Mexico to push for guarantees of free and fair elections. Venezuela’s opposition parties have long held that previous elections have been deliberately stacked in favor of the ruling socialists.

Maduro, whose time as Venezuela’s leader has been marred by economic collapse and political unrest, has previously indicated that he is willing to negotiate with opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Previous attempts at talks between Maduro and his opposition have failed. Back in 2017 and 2018, the government and opposition held talks in the Dominican Republican which were mediated by the international community. However, those were unsuccessful. In 2019, talks in Oslo and Barbados also failed to bring the two sides to any agreement.

Despite the record of failure, the US and its allies appear ready to give these latest talks in Mexico a chance. A State Department spokesman told the Associated Press that the talks must include necessary conditions to ensure free and fair elections take place in Venezuela. But for that to happen, the Maduro representatives must engage in “sincere discussions” with opposition leaders.

The State Department spokesman reiterated that while Mexico is mediating these talks, the negotiations themselves must be led by the Venezuelan parties involved.