Merseyside, United Kingdom, February 1 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan government claimed on Wednesday that it had reached a preliminary agreement with the country’s main opposition coalition during ongoing talks in the Dominican Republic, lauding the milestone as a triumph over US efforts to bring about regime change in the South American country.
“Today Donald Trump has been defeated… Today the opposition and government of Venezuela signed a pre-agreement,” stated Communications Minister and delegate to the talks, Jorge Rodriguez.
According to Rodriguez, there are still several points which need to be further discussed before a final deal can be reached. However, the government has said that it hopes the two sides will sign off on a formal agreement on February 5th.
Government spokespeople have previously accused the US administration of Donal Trump of pressuring the Venezuelan opposition forces to not sign any deal in the talks in the Dominican Republic, claiming that any peace deal between the opposing political forces would be contrary to what they perceive as US efforts to destabilise the country.
Photographs of the Venezuelan government and the opposition shaking hands and looking generally friendly have been circulated on social media since their last meeting on Wednesday. Nonetheless, the opposition has denied that a preliminary deal had been agreed.
“Until everything is resolved, there is no agreement at all,” said First Justice leader and representative for the opposition in negotiations, Julio Borges, during an interview on Thursday.
Despite protesting the government announcement that a deal was imminent, Borges conceded that the opposition had signed an act “confirming that advances had been made” and outlining some mutual points of agreement.
For his part, Dominican President Danilo Medina, whose government has played a central role in facilitating the talks, also confirmed the existence of the document but declined to give further details.
Nonetheless, Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni was less tight-lipped about the talks, which he also attended along with other Latin American foreign ministers.
“Peace and the capacity of the Venezuelan people to resolve their problems without interference, without interventionism, have triumphed. This pre-agreement allows Venezuelans the certainty of stability and dignity,” he tweeted.
Ha triunfado la paz y la capacidad del pueblo venezolano de resolver sus problemas sin injerencias, sin intervencionismo. Este pre acuerdo permite a los venezolanos tener la certeza de estabilidad y dignidad. #TriunfaLaPaz pic.twitter.com/GHEtcHLWyX
— Fernando Huanacuni M (@huanacuni_m) January 31, 2018
The rapprochement between the government and opposition comes after three days of back-to-back meetings in the Dominican Republic, where both sides have been engaged in internationally mediated talks since December.
The dialogue efforts are the third time that negotiations have been held between the Venezuelan government and opposition since mid 2016.
Though tensions between the two sides have been pronounced over the last eighteen years, the country was plunged into political gridlock at the beginning of 2016 due to a heated stand-off between the opposition held legislature and the national executive.
The majority of Venezuelans favour dialogue as a means to resolve the ongoing political crisis, as well as the economic downturn that hit the country in 2014.