Dominican Republic: Release of 80 Detainees Will Boost Dialogue in Venezuela

Just before Christmas the Venezuelan government released 80 detainees arrested in relation to anti-government violence between 2014-2017. 

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Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas, DR President Danilo Medina, and former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero are overseeing the Venezuelan dialogue. (Reuters)
Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas, DR President Danilo Medina, and former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero are overseeing the Venezuelan dialogue. (Reuters)
By TeleSUR English
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Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas has praised an initiative to release 80 detainees allegedly involved in anti-government violence between 2014 and 2017 in Venezuela, which he says will help promote positive dialogue between the government and the opposition.

"It is an impulse for the dialogue that is taking place in the Dominican Republic, the Venezuelan government and the opposition," the diplomat said on Saturday after the decision.

"The commission has developed over the course of four months an investigation process of the accused persons and has interviewed detainees in order to contribute to justice, recognition of the victims and national reconciliation."

Vargas believes the action demonstrates the willingness of the Venezuelan government to continue the dialogue "to reach an agreement through a peaceful, democratic and stable solution," he said in a statement.

Former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero indicated that the suggestion of the Commission for Truth could strengthen a future agreement on democratic coexistence.

"I would like to express my satisfaction with the decision announced today by the Truth Commission... which recommends the evaluation of alternatives to the deprivation of liberty for 80 people detained or sentenced."

The Commission for Truth, Peace and Public Tranquility of the National Constituent Assembly delivered a report Saturday encouraging the release of political prisoners arrested during the series of violent protests earlier this year.

ANC President Delcy Rodriguez recommended prisoners' sentences be amended, trading community work for prison time. She added that citizens have the right to dignity and hopes the situation will be resolved quickly.

"This important step strengthens the expectations of an agreement of democratic coexistence and peace for Venezuela," she said in a statement.

The next meeting between the delegates of the Government and the opposition will be in Santo Domingo (Dominican capital) on January 11 and 12, and will be accompanied by host President Danilo Medina; the foreign ministers of Mexico, Chile and Nicaragua, and representatives from Bolivia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.