Venezuela’s Opposition Shifts Gears on Talks With Maduro

Venezuela’s Opposition Shifts Gears on Talks With Maduro
Flanked by party members, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido speaks a day after parliamentary elections, in Caracas, Venezuela, Dec. 7, 2020 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

Something interesting is happening in Venezuela. Just as the rest of the world risked becoming resigned to a stalemate in that failed nation’s political crisis, with essentially no viable path to a solution, a sudden flurry of activity suggests a possible way forward. Even if experience tells us a strong dose of skepticism is warranted when it comes to the Venezuelan regime’s real intentions, the recent developments must be taken seriously.

The key event came last week, via Twitter. Opposition leader Juan Guaido released a video calling for talks with the government of President Nicolas Maduro in pursuit of a “national salvation agreement,” under international auspices. Guaido, who was recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate acting president by dozens of countries back in 2019, spoke of the urgency of tackling the country’s grave humanitarian crisis and the need to “reach an accord to save Venezuela.”

The country was already in a full-fledged humanitarian crisis before the pandemic struck. Not surprisingly, the situation is much worse now. But Guaido’s strategy does not ignore the principal source of the country’s woes: the calamitously incompetent government of President Nicolas Maduro. “Our objective,” he said, “is to come out of the tragedy and recover democracy. That’s where we must keep the focus.” In case anyone thought he was going soft on Maduro, he added, “Our adversary is the brutal dictatorship we face.”

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