Bogoti. – After the resignation of the National Electoral Council and the disqualification of the main opposition candidate María Corina Machado for 15 years, the political and social situation in Venezuela remains stagnant, albeit through another path Communication continues at the highest level to try to unlock the mode. President of the Venezuelan National Assembly and right-hand man Nicolás Maduro, Jorge RodriguezThree weeks ago, he met in Doha, the capital of Qatar, with Juan GonzalezJoe Biden’s advisor, according to official sources. The meeting took place without the presence of intermediaries or third parties.
Qatar was gaining an unexpected role in mediating between the White House and the Chavista government. In addition to hosting this meeting, he made arrangements to mediate between the two countries, which have barely come close in recent months. Despite the urgency of some regulation in Venezuela Elections with guarantees in 2024 – something that seems more distant after Machado’s removal -, Absolute coolness. The monarchy is headed by the Al Thani family space left by columbia, who shifted from being fully involved during the first months of Gustavo Petro’s government to keeping the issue out of his foreign policy priorities.
Rodriguez and Gonzalez, the Western Hemisphere adviser to the US National Security Council, met to establish a direct channel of communication, according to these same sources. At the meeting they talked about it The release of prisoners and the need to normalize political life in Venezuela, something that seems unattainable today. These types of meetings at the highest level are common in well-established and complex processes such as Venezuela and its relationship with the United States, but kept a secret So that no one interferes in the dialogue. Neither Rodriguez nor Gonzalez, after being consulted by this newspaper, commented on the matter.
Attitudes between the United States and Venezuela are far apart. Maduro has not set a date for general elections in which, in theory, there should be an opposition candidate who can challenge him for the presidency. But the The resignation of the National Electoral Council (CNE) – in addition to disqualifying Machado – also makes it difficult for the opposition primaries to be held. next to, Caracas demands the release of Alex Saab, The Colombian businessman, an ally of Maduro, who is being prosecuted in the United States for money laundering and corruption, is considered by Chavismo to be a Venezuelan diplomat. The White House interpreted these gestures as a challenge to Chavismo and a clear sign that she is not giving up despite the international pressure, which is calling for democratization in the country.
Maduro’s argument for maintaining a strong position is that the United States has not lifted the international sanctions that burden his government. Chavismo blames these sanctions for the deep economic crisis the country has been in for seven years. “If they want free elections, we want sanctions-free elections.”said the president in november. The statement leaves no room for second interpretations. Chavismo also blames Biden for not releasing Venezuelan funds frozen abroad – between 3 and 5 billion dollars – as they agreed with the opposition at the dialogue table in Mexico at the end of last year. Administered by a United Nations fund, that money was a breath of fresh air in the grave Venezuelan crisis.
However, Washington thinks so After Maduro showed his willingness to negotiate, he suddenly became inert. Other countries have the same opinion. french president, Emmanuel MacronAnd Petro himself They asked him to set a date for the elections to bring the positions closer, but he did not do so And it doesn’t look like he’s going to do that anytime soon. Washington granted a license to the Chevron oil company to operate on Venezuelan soil, which looked like an outstretched hand. From that moment on, the most sanguine believed that concessions on both sides would occur, but The truth is, that was not the case. No progress was made in the last semester.
Maduro has no intention of giving up ground or facilitating any path. In recent months, it has regained its domestic authority and diplomatic jurisdiction. After years of not leaving the country, this has been seen in some international and regional summits. The economic situation has passed the terrible moment it experienced two years ago thanks to Oil revenues and a certain liberalization of the economy, although still growth within the reach of very few. With all this, the president stressed his demands within the framework of political negotiations with the opposition.
The outlook is not rosy. Talks with Mexico’s opposition have stalled since November and Chavismo refuses to return to the negotiating table. Now, Maduro is calling for the full and non-progressive lifting of the sanctions, as agreed, in order to resume dialogue. With this division difficult to resolve, both sides found themselves in Qatar, an unexpected place. The secret meeting, which is now beyond, means building a bridge, even if it is insignificant, between two representatives who do not have any trust. Results remain to be seen.
Juan Diego Quesada
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