Summit on Venezuela in Bogotá, the fight to bring the ruling party and the opposition closer

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The leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaidó, assured this April 24 that he arrived in Colombia with the intention of attending the summit on his country, which will take place on Tuesday, April 25 in Bogotá. However, the Colombian Foreign Ministry clarified that he is not invited to the meeting. The meeting, promoted by Colombian President Gustavo Petro, tries to unblock the dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition, but in the background Petro seeks to reactivate Caracas’ relations with the world, including its eventual return to the OAS and the withdrawal of sanctions. from USA

Colombia is preparing to host the international conference on Venezuela that aims to unblock the talks between the government of Nicolás Maduro and the opposition.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro will lead the meeting in Bogotá this Tuesday, April 25, with the attendance of foreign ministers or delegates from around 20 countries, including the United States.

The first objective of the meeting in the Colombian capital is to unblock the dialogues between the Venezuelan ruling party and its counterpart under the premise of seeking “more democracy”, with an eye on possible general elections.

The leader of the House of Nariño It is committed to presidential elections in Venezuela in which the ruling party respects the electoral norms and its political adversaries have guarantees. A step that could lead to a solution to years of political crisis.

This was urged by both Petro and Venezuelan opposition leaders, over the weekend, in a meeting ahead of the summit, in which they urged Caracas to set a date for presidential elections in 2024.

Nicolás Maduro has made clear his support for the summit promoted by Petro.

Meanwhile, in the last hours and in a surprise announcement, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaidó, assured that he arrived on foot to the neighboring country, where he will seek to meet with the delegations attending the summit.

However, shortly after the Colombian Foreign Ministry made it clear that Guaidó was not invited to the meeting and that only representatives of the invited countries will participate.

“I have just arrived in Colombia, in the same way that millions of Venezuelans have done before me, on foot. I have come within the framework of the summit called by President Petro for this Tuesday, April 25,” said Guaidó, after information was released that the Maduro Administration was preparing his arrest.

In fact, before an alleged imminent arrest, rumors spread that the man who declared himself interim president of Venezuela, in January 2019, would have taken refuge in the French embassy in Caracas.

The challenge of bringing the Venezuelan government and opposition closer

Since he came to the Executive branch less than a year ago, Petro, the first left-wing president in the history of Colombia, hastened the resumption of relations with his neighboring country, undermined during the governments of his predecessors.

Caracas has been the target of strong questions due to the holding of elections described as “fraudulent”, with which Chavismo has remained in the Government, and after controversial decisions with which the Executive has achieved control of all the powers of the State.

This in a country where the participation of the opposition in Parliament is nil, to the point that last January it promoted a “Legislative Assembly” in exile with little room for maneuver.

A decision that came after the so-called interim government, led by Guaidó, ended on January 30, 2022, and in the midst of deep divisions between Maduro’s political adversaries, which represents one of the great challenges of the talks that Bogotá hosts. .

File-The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaidó.
File-The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaidó. Reuters

Since the 2018 presidential elections, and in the subsequent elections, there has been a notable high fragmentation between the benches and political leaders that oppose the Venezuelan regime, since one part has refused to participate in the elections, arguing that it is “impossible”. win in some votes “rigged” by the Government of Maduro; while another insists on the need to be part of the electoral processes.

Petro bets on the resumption of relations between Venezuela and the world

In the background, a political rapprochement and the eventual holding of free and democratic elections are the first step to bring Venezuela closer to an international community, led by the United States, which has considered Nicolás Maduro an “illegitimate” president.

More than four years ago, more than 50 nations considered Guaidó Venezuela’s interim president, though his leadership role in recent years has faded.

Venezuela was one of the central points of the recent meeting between President Joe Biden and his Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro, at the White House.

Petro advocates a democratic process with guarantees in exchange for the withdrawal of Washington’s economic sanctions against Caracas.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, received his counterpart, Gustavo Petro, at the White House.  Photo from April 20, 2023.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, received his counterpart, Gustavo Petro, at the White House. Photo from April 20, 2023. ©Susan Walsh/AP

In addition, the Colombian president insisted on changing the democratic charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) to reintegrate Venezuela and Cuba.

For the sake of that Venezuelan reintegration, the Colombian leader stressed the need to address two paths: “One, the Venezuelan electoral schedule with guarantees, the entry of Venezuela into the Inter-American Human Rights System and a gradual and progressive deactivation of sanctions,” he explained.

So far, Washington warns that it will maintain its sanctions until it sees “concrete steps” towards democratization and insists that its objective is “free and fair” elections.

With AFP and local media

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Written by Editor TLN

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