Venezuela: Juan Guaidó Confirms Unpopular ‘Mediation’ by Europe with Maduro

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido addresses supporters during a meeting in Caracas [Federico Parra/AFP]
Federico Parra/AFP

Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó confirmed on Thursday that he had sent envoys to a meeting with representatives of the rogue socialist Nicolás Maduro regime in Norway this week, insisting, “there isn’t any sort of negotiation” between the two sides.

Rumors circulated Thursday that the Norwegian government, in contact with the Cuban communist regime, had offered to mediate talks between Guaidó’s legitimate government and Maduro, as Oslo had experience mediating between the Colombian government and Marxist terrorists during the tenure of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Those talks emboldened the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), turning the terrorists into a legal political party and sending cocaine production rates in the country soaring.

In a press conference Thursday, Guaidó appeared to both confirm talks with the Maduro regime and attempt to argue that contact with the Maduro regime would not lead to more negotiations.

“There isn’t any sort of negotiation. It is an effort by Norway for a mediation which is months old,” Guaidó said, according to Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional. “This was the second invitation from Oslo. Everything else is speculation.”

“We will not lend ourselves to any false negotiations,” he insisted.

The president identified three members of his government who he had sent to Oslo for the talks. There is no evidence that the talks have yet occurred, however, and Venezuelan journalist Nelson Bocaranda reported Friday that “as of now no meeting has occurred between representatives of the legitimate government and Nicolás Maduro.”

Guaidó noted that he is simultaneously seeking communication with the U.S. military on potential kinetic efforts to remove Maduro, who has refused to leave the presidential palace despite no longer legally being the nation’s head of state since January. He told reporters that the presence of Cuban soldiers and Colombian communist terrorist groups like the FARC and National Liberation Army (ELN) in Venezuela meant that a military occupation had already occurred.
“That is precisely what Venezuela does not want … What Venezuela wants is democracy, now, because we need it,” Guaidó said. He added that he did not necessarily support a military exit for Maduro, but would welcome “all the options” as long as they lead to “stability, governability, and free elections.” As interim president, scheduling and overseeing free elections to replace himself is Guaidó’s top responsibility.

Guaidó reiterated on Twitter that, despite the talks in Oslo, his representative in the United States, Ambassador Carlos Vecchio, had scheduled a meeting with the Pentagon’s Southern Command for May 20, the anniversary of Maduro’s fradulent elections that led to Guaidó’s inauguration.

“We are preparing for a beneficial meeting that will allow us to advance in the international cooperation that Venezuela requires,” he wrote. “We have also addressed an invitation by the government of Norway, and today we will meet with a Group of Contact in the European Union. We reiterate that any mediation initiative must lead to the end of [Maduro’s] usurpation, a transition government, and free elections.”

On Friday, Norway confirmed its role in the talks.

“Norway announces that it has had preliminary contacts with representatives of the main political actors of Venezuela, as part of an exploratory phase, with the aim of contributing to finding a solution to the situation in the country,” a statement from the nation’s government read. “Norway commends the parties for their efforts. We reiterate our willingness to continue supporting the search for a peaceful solution for the country.”

Norway played a key role in talks between the Colombian government and the FARC, a Marxist narco-terrorist association responsible for tens of thousands of murders, rapes, kidnappings, forced abortions, and other crimes against humanity. Norwegian media outlets reported that some of the same negotiators that worked on the FARC talks have also involved themselves in the current mediation offer, claiming evidence exists that Norway has spent at least a year trying to convince the opposition to enter talks with the rogue dictator.

Norway is notably one of the few nations in the free world not to recognize Guaidó as president of Venezuela.

The FARC talks have left Colombia with a renewed drug and terrorism problem after having significantly weakened the terrorists in the mid-2000s, a product of collaboration between then-president Álvaro Uribe and his American counterpart, George W. Bush. The “peace” deal granted the FARC guaranteed representation in the Colombian Congress as a political party and gave the government minimal power to inspect its revenue sources. As a result, Colombia has experienced a cocaine boom and uncovered significant evidence that senior FARC leaders have used drug profits for political campaigning.

The results of negotiations between Maduro and the opposition, ongoing between 2015 and 2017, were much deadlier. At the time, the opposition had formed a socialist-led coalition known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) to engage in talks with the Maduro regime to demand an end to state violence against dissidents and the liberation of political prisoners. The MUD formed in the aftermath of a landmark electoral victory for the opposition in the 2015 legislative elections, the last free and fair round of voting in the country. Maduro used the time during which the MUD halted protests to engage in dialogue to imprison and kill hundreds of dissidents, including many adolescents and minors.

According to the Venezuelan NGO Provea, “8,291 people were murdered by agents of the public forces [police and military] between January 2015 and June 2017.” Maduro remained in power and the opposition notably lost the trust of the people, resulting in smaller protests and Maduro attempting to dissolve the national legislature and replace it with a body led by his wife, son, and other loyalists.

Popular Will, Juan Guaidó’s party, notably exited the dialogue in 2016 after leader Leopoldo López, then still a political prisoner, stated that there was no sound basis for negotiation with Maduro’s regime. Popular Will is a full member party of the Socialist International.

The MUD failure left a sour taste in the mouth of Venezuelans. A poll by the firm Meganalisis published this month found that 87.6 percent of the country opposed any dialogue between Maduro and Guaidó.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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