Venezuela’s left-leaning opposition has agreed to enter talks with the country’s governing dictatorship in a bid to open a humanitarian channel into a country quickly descending into total dysfunction.
The announcement was made by the opposing coalition, known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), who confirmed that the talks will be led by the opposition leader Julio Borges of the center-left Justice First party, accompanied by members of civil society.
“The delegation of Venezuelan Democrats has been expanded to include technicians representative of the labor, workers, production, academic and human rights organizations,” the MUD said in an announcement.
Amongst the coalition’s principal demands will be the opening of a humanitarian channel to ease the country’s economic crisis, the release of all political prisoners, the guarantee of a fair presidential election and the reinstatement of powers to the country’s democratically elected national assembly.
The talks will also be supervised by the foreign ministers of Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, as well as economists, intellectuals, trade unionists and other members of civil society.
However, more anti-socialist factions of the opposing coalition, such as Vente Venezuela leader Maria Corina Machado and the recently exiled mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma, have pledged not to participate in the talks, arguing they are merely a government tactic to appear like they are willing to cooperate.
“The government will most likely use this dialogue to gain time and to try to discredit and promote more divisions within the wider opposition movement,” Diego Moya Ocampos, a Latin American analyst at IHS Markit, told Breitbart News. “The stakes are high but the prospects of a successful dialogue are low at the moment. It seems Maduro’s government does not feel yet cornered towards the point it has to give away concessions to the democratic opposition.”
The rupture comes a month after President Nicolás Maduro’s governing socialist dictatorship successfully rigged the results of regional elections, winning 19 out of 23 regional governorships on a day marred by violence and a number of irregularities such as the banning of international observers and the manipulation of voter turnout.
In August, the regime also consolidated its power with the creation of an illegal lawmaking body known as the “national constituents assembly,” which stripped the powers of elected lawmakers and replaced them with a body comprised solely of socialist government supporters.
Venezuela is currently facing the worst political and humanitarian crisis in its history, as millions of people are on the brink of famine amid skyrocketing levels of inflation that has left the monthly minimum wage at under $2 (two dollars) a month.
In recent weeks, Maduro has turned to both China and Russia to offer debt restructuring packages to keep the country’s shattered economy afloat, as Venezuela continues to default on debt payments totaling a staggering $120 billion.