Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó confirmed on Thursday he sent a team of diplomats to Sweden to negotiate with other world powers towards a solution to the country’s ongoing political and humanitarian crisis.
The talks, which took place in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, were attended by representatives of Russia, the Vatican, Cuba, and the European Union. The United States was invited but declined to attend.
None of the state actors participating recognize Guaidó as the nation’s president.
“As we have said at all times, the whole world already knows the product of that meeting, that we Venezuelans have many options for the transitional government,” Guaidó said Thursday during a visit to Mérida state.
Guaidó also responded to warnings from various Venezuelan figures against participating in the talks with the regime or its international backers, claiming that “all the spaces that approximate the cessation of usurpation, transitional government, and free elections are valid for the government of Venezuela.”
The 35-year-old, who the Venezuelan National Assembly swore into office in January, went on to argue that the talks were “proof that there is a worldwide consensus that there must be a free presidential election in Venezuela, and that the usurpation must stop.”
Last week, Guaidó claimed that “nobody who is straight in the head would sit across from a dictator thinking he is negotiating in good faith” after several rounds of talks in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, with the Maduro regime ended in deadlock.
The majority of Venezuelans strongly opposed Guaidó’s past willingness to negotiate with the Maduro regime, which increasingly operates as a military dictatorship similar to Cuba. Many see the talks as a sign that Guaidó’s efforts to remove the Maduro regime from power have failed. A nationwide survey taken last month found that 87.6 percent of Venezuelans opposed any form of dialogue with the regime, while little over ten percent of respondents said they were in favor of talks.
Following the initial round of talks last month, the Norwegian government said that the two sides had agreed to “move forward,” although Guaidó quickly denied the existence of any positive outcome.
“The mediation meeting that we attended at the invitation of the government of Norway in Oslo has concluded,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter. “We have ratified our route: the end of the usurpation, a transition government, and free elections as the way to solve the tragedy that our Venezuela suffers today.”
“That meeting ended without agreement. We have insisted that mediation will be useful for Venezuela so long as there are elements that allow the advance towards a true solution,” he continued. “Therefore, we remain in the struggle until we resolve the crisis all Venezuelans suffer. Thus, the process does not deter efforts through all constitutional avenues.”