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Bolivarian Government Calls for "Second Phase" of Dialogue with Opposition

Los Angeles, February 7, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Bolivarian government announced its support for the “second phase of dialogue” with the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), confirmed Caracas Mayor Jorge Rodríguez at a press conference on Monday.

The dialogue process has been stalled as the right-wing opposition bloc has refused to fulfill agreements and move forward with international facilitators' recommendations for next steps.

"We express our willingness to work on the proposals put forth in the document [prepared by the facilitators], always within a framework of respect for the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and our laws," said Rodríguez, an official delegate for the Maduro government in this latest dialogue process.

Rodríguez also appeared in a television interview with José Vicente Today speaking to part of the opposition’s unwillingness to continue with the dialogue.

"We’ve fulfilled [our obligations] and we’re still sitting at the dialogue table and they [the opposition] are not. There is a sector of MUD that does not want to continue with the process, among them, the Popular Will party which only resorts to violence," Rodríguez said. 

Last month, a part of the MUD insisted that it would not continue in the dialogue until their demands were met including the release of so-called “political prisoners” and a timetable for early presidential elections, which under Venezuela's constitution are not due until 2018. 

Rodríguez also emphasized that "the process must advance in a way that the National Assembly follows the law and abide the Supreme Court’s judgment and regularize its situation before the Constitution." 

The Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice re-declared the opposition-controlled legislature null and void in January for refusing to unseat three Amazonas legislators who are currently under investigation for electoral fraud.

Nonetheless, Rodríguez mentioned that socialist legislator Héctor Rodríguez has met with opposition lawmakers to discuss ways to normalize the National Assembly’s situation. During his weekly program on Sunday, President Nicolás Maduro alluded to this same sentiment indicating that "important sectors of the MUD want to regularize their situation constitutionally and abide by the Supreme Court’s resolutions.”

The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, also waded into the discussion of the dialogue this week, threatening to push for sanctions against the South American country in the event that the talks definitively collapse. 

“If they tell us that the dialogue is over and there is a formal communique from the opposition and the Vatican to that effect, we will relaunch efforts to take measures [against Venezuela]," he said, referring to threats made in 2016 to suspend Venezuela from the body under the OAS Democratic Charter. 

The Vatican, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and former presidents Leonel Fernández (Dominican Republic), Martín Torrijos (Panama) and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Spain) have mediated the talks since November.

The last meeting was held on November 12 during which both sides reached several agreements including recognizing the existence of an economic war against the government and addressing issues with the National Assembly.

However, the process was suspended on December 6 when the opposition claimed that the Bolivarian government had not fulfilled its side of the agreements. Last month, the opposition refused to accept the international facilitators’ most recent proposal for next steps.

Published on Feb 7th 2017 at 7.15pm