Colombia-Venezuela Political Peace Talks and Presidential Elections: Latest Updates and Analysis

2024-04-10 23:56:00

(CNN Spanish) — Around noon this Wednesday, the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, reported on his social networks that just as on Tuesday he met with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, this Wednesday he did so with sectors of the Venezuelan opposition, as he said, “in the perspective of building political Peace.” Although he did not specify who he met with, two sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CNN that the meeting was with the presidential candidate of Un Nuevo Tiempo, Manuel Rosales.

CNN contacted the Un Nuevo Tiempo team to verify this version, but they neither confirmed nor denied it. However, they did affirm that Rosales, party leader and current governor of the state of Zulia, was in the city of Caracas. Rosales formalized his candidacy on the verge of the closing of the application period without having the support of the Unitary Platform, an alliance that brings together the opposition parties.

For its part, the Vente Venezuela team told CNN that Petro did not meet with the winner of the opposition primary elections, María Corina Machado, and that he did not establish any communication to request a meeting. The Unitary Platform also denied to CNN having had any meeting with the Colombian president.

In this regard, the leader of the opposition Causa R party, Andrés Velásquez, addressed on their social networks Petro asking him who he met with and clarifying that “the Venezuelan opposition is integrated as a collective in the Platform of Democratic Unity, signatory of the Barbados agreement.” This agreement was signed in October on the Caribbean island by the Government and the Venezuelan opposition to establish political and electoral guarantees within the framework of the mechanism promoted by Norway in 2022.

The Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Yván Gil, fired the Colombian president at the Maiquetía international airport at noon this Wednesday. Later, Petro – from the plane – referred to “Colombian intermediation to achieve political peace in Venezuela.” In this regard, he said that he had presented a proposal to Maduro to ensure that the country could have political peace and that he also spoke with the most important sectors of the opposition, but without mentioning any specific leader. Petro added that they are building a democratic proposal for Venezuela for the well-being of the Venezuelan people.

Machado was disqualified from exercising and running for public office, a measure that is considered by the presidential candidate to be illegal and unconstitutional.

On March 26, the Colombian Foreign Ministry assured that it made efforts to urge the parties interested in the presidential election process in Venezuela, both the Government and the opposition, to comply with the Barbados agreement. At the same time, he expressed concern about the difficulties that the Unitary Platform and the Vente Venezuela political movement faced in entering the system and registering their candidates for the elections.

Shortly after, Petro affirmed that “there is no cowardly left” but rather the probability of, through deepening democracy, changing the world; and he also recalled that in his opinion, Chávez’s magic was proposing democracy and changing the world. This, when commenting on a publication about statements by his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, who assured that “the right-wing governments are silent, the cowardly left is silent” and are not capable of condemning the plans that attack La Paz.

On April 2, Petro, considered by many to be an “ally” of the Venezuelan government, said that what happened in Venezuela, by not allowing opposition member María Corina Machado to register as a presidential candidate, was an “anti-democratic coup.”

The presidential elections in Venezuela are scheduled for July 28 and 13 candidates nominated by 37 organizations and political parties will participate, according to the National Electoral Council. Among them is the current president, Nicolás Maduro, who aspires to his second re-election and third term of Government for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). During the event in which he formalized his registration, Maduro said that on July 28 there will be elections with or without the opposition.

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