Los Angeles, January 25th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan opposition legislator Tomás Guanipa revealed Wednesday that the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) is set to present an “alternative document” Friday to international dialogue mediators.
The news comes after dialogue facilitators met with MUD and Bolivarian government representatives last week to go over an initial document put forward by international mediators entitled an "Agreement of Democratic Coexistence". The text features 21 main points to guide the next series of talks between the two political sides and covers human, economic and social rights, as well as electoral issues.
However in an official statement, the opposition dismissed the official dialogue program presented by facilitators and said it would develop a counter text to "represent, not just political organizations, but also democratic society" and which would "put forth to the international community demands and proposals."
The opposition's hot-and-cold approach to dialogue efforts has resulted in failure several times before, causing concern over their latest refusal to participate in the dialogue on negotiated terms.
During an interview with politically conservative television channel Globovisión, Guanipa affirmed that the notoriously divided opposition coalition's decision was made “in consensus” and that the text is “very developed”.
"This document will set an approach that allows us to recover the electoral timetable, rescue institutionality in Venezuela, release prisoners for political reasons and create a commission that evaluates the agreements reached," the hard-right politician added. In addition, Guanipa stressed the opposition’s plans to coordinate nation-wide protests over the coming weeks.
Former President of Spain José Rodríguez Zapatero, who serves as one of the international mediators – together with UNASUR General Secretary Ernesto Samper, the former presidents of Panama and the Dominican Republic, Martín Torrijos and Leonel Fernández respectively, and official Vatican representation – voiced his continued support for the dialogue following last week’s meeting.
"I bet on this political dialogue as the only way for the future of the country in spite of an antagonistic situation and insurmountable differences," Zapatero stated on UNASUR’s official Twitter.
“In Venezuela there is a lot to do and we will do everything in favor of peace and coexistence,” he continued.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expressed his unwavering commitment to the dialogue at the Latin American and Caribbean States’ (CELAC) summit in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic this week. Maduro also voiced his gratitude for the regional bloc’s unanimous support for the dialogue.
"I am grateful for such support of these difficult processes that have been necessary to move forward, and I am sure that sooner or later we will reach agreements that will help strengthen democracy, peace and stability in our beloved Venezuela,” stated Maduro.
Last week, the Venezuelan head of state criticized the opposition for backpedaling on the dialogue process.
"It is an absurdity that MUD says it does not want to dialogue, they’re disregarding their obligations as citizens, as public representatives, it is a mockery of our international facilitators," Maduro said.
In October, the Venezuelan opposition accepted Maduro’s invitation to dialogue with the Bolivarian government to overcome a political stand-off between the opposition-controlled legislative branch of government and the Chavista executive. However, the opposition has withdrawn from the dialogue process several times since its outset.
According to multi-national Latin American news channel teleSUR, Maduro has invited the opposition to dialogue more than 30 times since 2013.