Splintered Venezuelan Opposition Meets with Mediators in Dominican Republic

After their loss in regional elections, the Venezuelan opposition is showing further signs of internal rifts.

Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas and President Danilo Medina
Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas and President Danilo Medina

Officials of the Dominican Republic have said that Venezuela’s opposition is expected to resume dialogue with the government after meeting with members of the splintered group on the Carribean island.

The new round of talks will be held in Santo Domingo though an official date has yet to be set, explained Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado, whose government has been acting as an international mediator. 

The opposition, led by Julio Borges and other members of the MUD coalition, met with President Danilo Medina earlier this week as part of an international commission to denounce alleged fraud in Venezuela’s regional elections on October 15.

Opposition leaders told Medina that they need certain guarantees to return to negotiations, which they scrapped by failing to attend the last round of scheduled talks.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition, which was hoping to make major gains in the regional elections, instead lost 18 out of 23 governor’s seats to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

Tensions within the opposition coalition came to a head after four governors from the Democratic Action party decided to take the oath of office in front of the National Constituent Assembly earlier on Monday. 

The move prompted Henrique Capriles, from the First Justice party and former opposition presidential candidate, to announce his withdrawal from the coalition, further exposing the cracks within the right-wing.

Some opposition factions have accused the government of President Nicolas Maduro of rigging the elections and using undemocratic means to gain votes. Opposition lawmaker Luis Florido said the opposition will also travel to the United Nations to demand “a complete audit” of the elections. To date the opposition has not submitted an official complaint to Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, nor presented proof to substantiate allegations of “massive fraud”. 

Fir his part, Ali de Jesus Uzcategui, Venezuelan ambassador in the Dominican Republic, said that the opposition should produce evidence of the alleged irregularities, and work towards peace in the country.

The government and the opposition began a dialogue in 2016 with the support of the Vatican and Unasur to overcome the Venezuelan political crisis. Nonetheless the opposition has abandoned the talks on several occasions. 

Edited by Venezuelanalysis