Puebla, Mexico, November 25, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan government says it will continue pushing for dialogue with the country’s opposition, despite right-wing leaders announcing talks were frozen.
On Wednesday, the opposition coalition, the MUD, said it was temporarily pulling out of talks.
“The government, in an irresponsible manner, froze the dialogue process by not showing up to two technical meetings last night," MUD leader Jesus Torrealba told Reuters at the time.
Maduro has denied talks are at a standstill.
"The dialogue is advancing ... and by January, February or March, it will be strengthened," he said.
However, one of his top allies, former National Assembly (AN) head Diosdado Cabello, has told state media that government representatives did refuse to join Tuesday’s talks.
“The right-wing has not complied with agreements [made in previous talks], and while they do not comply we have nothing to talk about,” he said, according to teleSUR.
Cabello said the MUD had violated an agreement earlier this month by allowing three legislators from Amazonas state to resign. The status of the three legislators has been a sticking point in talks, with the government demanding that the AN adhere to a Supreme Court ruling barring the swearing in of the lawmakers pending investigations into alleged electoral irregularities.
In August, the high court declared all actions of the AN null and void until the deputies were formally disincorporated.
According to Cabello, the legislators should have had their swearing in ceremonies annulled, instead of being allowed to simply resign.
He added that it was unfair of the MUD to blame the frozen talks on the government.
“They have told the country and the world that the Chavistas had risen from the table of dialogue,” he said.
The disincoporation of the three legislators has further fragmented the already divided opposition, with legislators from the far-right Popular Will and Vente parties opposing the move.
"I am among those who think that we should vote against it… so the country sees who agrees with the removing the legislators under judicial pressure," exclaimed Popular Will deputy Armando Armas.
The government and opposition have been holding high-level talks aimed at resolving their long standing political impasse since last month.
Earlier this month, the government said it had reached a key milestone in talks, after the opposition agreed to a five point plan that included a promise for Maduro to accept international aid shipments. In exchange, the MUD agreed the government had been targeted by an “economic war”.
The talks have also led to the release of five people the opposition says were imprisoned for political reasons.
While the government says it remains fully committed to talks, the negotiations have left the MUD sharply divided. While four MUD parties have backed dialogue, 15 other member parties have boycotted talks.