Venezuelan Opposition Calls off Participation in Dialogue with Government

The opposition threatens to pull back from dialogue with the Bolivarian government citing unfulfilled agreements.


La Ceiba, December 26th 2016 ( – Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) spokesperson Jesus Torrealba announced this weekend that the opposition will not participate in the next scheduled dialogue gathering set for January 13th, 2017. Torreabla defended the opposition’s decision citing that the government has allegedly not complied with dialogue agreements.

Torrealba sent an official MUD statement to Vatican Secretary Monsignor Pietro Parolin to inform the dialogue’s facilitating party of their decision.

The statememt indicates that in the last 25 days, “the social and economic crisis which is the focus of the Venezuelan political conflict has become even greater and more flammable.” The opposition alleges that necessary conditions do not exist for the dialogue to continue.

Among the opposition’s complaints include references to “unfulfilled” agreements; however, the demands Torrealba cites are not among those established in the dialogue. For example, the opposition coalition demands the release of political leaders arrested in association with their roles in the 2014 guarimba violence.

The dialogue’s mutual agreements settled in late October did not include the release of opposition leaders such as Leopoldo López serving a 13 year sentence for widespread guarimba violence in 2014. Forty three people died and hundreds more were injured as a result of the opposition’s infamous “The Exit” plan set on destabilizing the Bolivarian government.  

The Bolivarian government’s dialogue representative Jorge Rodriguez expressed that he perceives that the MUD’s main challenge in participating is due to their own internal contradictions.

Moreover, Rodriguez emphasized that the opposition has yet to comply with the first set of dialogue agreements: to live together in peace and support the government’s actions to address the economic war.

Nevertheless, the Bolivarian government reiterated its commitment to continue the dialogue.

Rodríguez explained that the Bolivarian government supports the talks because, “[the dialogue] is a peaceful way to resolve the political conflict in the country.” Rodriguez highlighted that, “[the government] is going to demand that the dialogue continues until concrete solutions are reached for Venezuelans.”

The dialogue resumed in October with the support of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Vatican. Former presidents Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (Spain), Martin Torrijos (Panama), and Leonel Fernandez (Dominican republic) are also officially accompanying the dialogue process.