Venezuela’s President Maduro And Opposition Leader Guaidó Are Allegedly In Secret Talks And The World Wants To Know The Details
Despite a global pandemic – or maybe because of it – Venezuela’s two governments are holding high-level talks, according to several sources – as reported by Reuters.
The breaking development comes as the U.S. ratchets up pressure on the Venezuela and a growing number of countries now recognize the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
The two sides are discussing everything from the Coronavirus pandemic to fuel shortages and hyperinflation.
According to a report by Reuters, the two sides have come together to discuss a variety of issues despite a growing bitterness between the two leaders.
Obviously, Venezuela faces ongoing crises but the global health pandemic has heightened fears within the country of all out chaos. The country is barely equipped to handle normal, everyday health emergencies let alone a global pandemic.
The U.S. and its international allies have also tightened the already unprecented sanctions on the country and has issued an arrest warrant for Maduro. Many within the government, according to sources, say this has motivated them to seek political survival under a possible change of government.
Other than the Coronavirus and ongoing domestic economic issues, the talks are said to have no clear agenda.
It’s not entirely certain what either side is hoping to achieve with these talks. “There are two extremes: Maduro and those who believe that the virus will end Guaido’s leadership, and those on the other side (who) hope this crisis will bring down Maduro,” said an opposition legislator in favor of the discussions.
Maduro and Guaidó are competing with one another to help combat the effects of the pandemic, with each side convinced the outbreak will undermine the other politically. But it remains to be seen which side will come out ahead given the vacuum of leadership and the growing crisis everyday Venezuelans face.
Activists and rights groups around the world have urged the two factions to seek a truce in order to coordinate the delivery of aid and boost gasoline imports.
Meanwhile, the United States has put ‘maximum pressure’ on the Maduro regime to try and force a change of government.
The US state department in March offered to begin lifting parts of the sanctions if members of the Socialist party formed an interim government without Maduro, a plan backed by Guaidó but quickly shot down by the government.
The U.S. has also issued an international arrest warrant for Maduro – accusing him of drug trafficking and money laundering. This allegedly has members of his government looking for an exit strategy.
Venezuela has so far escaped the worst effects of the Coronavirus.
Venezuela is particularly vulnerable to the wider effects of the pandemic because of its ongoing socioeconomic and political crisis causing massive shortages of food staples and basic necessities, including medical supplies. The mass emigration of Venezuelan doctors has also caused chronic staff shortages in hospitals.
So far, the country has seen just 311 confirmed cases and 10 deaths related to the virus – but these numbers are suspected to be unreliable because of a lack of testing in the country.
Maduro has reacted to the pandemic by reversing his opposition to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and asking for $5 billion in international aid to help his government combat the virus. The county has also suspended all international flights and borders between Venezuela and Colombia and Brazil have been closed since mid-March.
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