News / Americas

Venezuela's Maduro, Opposition to Talk in Push to End Deadly Unrest

Anti-government protesters walk through tear gas during riots in Caracas, Apr. 6, 2014.
Anti-government protesters walk through tear gas during riots in Caracas, Apr. 6, 2014.
Reuters
President Nicolas Maduro is due to host Venezuelan opposition leaders on Thursday night at the start of mediated talks intended to stem violent protests in which dozens of people have died in the OPEC nation's worst unrest for years.
 
Some hardline opposition groups, including the party of jailed protest leader Leopoldo Lopez, are boycotting the dialogue while demonstrators remain in jail.
 
The meeting, brokered by foreign ministers from the UNASUR bloc of South American governments, is expected to start at 8 p.m. (0030 GMT) at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas and be broadcast live on state TV.
 
Both sides have also asked the Roman Catholic Church to attend as a “good faith” witness. The Vatican has confirmed its willingness to mediate but not named an envoy to the talks.

“Miraflores will tremble,” said opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost
FILE - Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Apr. 24, 2013.FILE - Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Apr. 24, 2013.
x
FILE - Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Apr. 24, 2013.
FILE - Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Apr. 24, 2013.
to Maduro in last year's election to replace late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
 
“We will tell the government the truth so that the country can open its eyes and we see that things must change,” added Capriles, who is part of the Democratic Unity (MUD) opposition coalition's delegation to the talks.
 
Pollsters say both Maduro's and the opposition's approval levels have fallen during the recent crisis, while an already slowing economy has suffered a further drag due to the impact of violent clashes on businesses and transport.
 
Since protests began in early February, 39 people have died and about 600 been injured, officials say. More than 2,000 have been detained, with scores still behind bars.

Maduro, who calls himself the "son" of Chavez and is seeking to preserve popular
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters after his meeting with representatives of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties Mesa de la Unidad (MUD) and the Union of South American Nations' foreign ministers in Caracas, April 8, 2014.Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters after his meeting with representatives of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties Mesa de la Unidad (MUD) and the Union of South American Nations' foreign ministers in Caracas, April 8, 2014.
x
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters after his meeting with representatives of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties Mesa de la Unidad (MUD) and the Union of South American Nations' foreign ministers in Caracas, April 8, 2014.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters after his meeting with representatives of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties Mesa de la Unidad (MUD) and the Union of South American Nations' foreign ministers in Caracas, April 8, 2014.
oil-funded welfare policies while tinkering with his predecessor's statist economic model, said ahead of the talks that he would talk but not negotiate.


“There will be no pact with anyone. There is a debate, a dialog, which is different,” he said. “I would be a traitor if I start negotiating the revolution.”
 
Hardline protesters have openly sought to provoke a “Venezuelan Spring” that would force Maduro out of office but have failed to bring the millions onto the streets they had hoped for. The demonstrators have proved persistent, however, with roadblocks, marches and other protest tactics still continuing sporadically in some cities. Students in Caracas planned to rally just before the talks started.
 
Venezuelans across the political spectrum are fed up with violent crime and economic problems including a 57 percent annual inflation rate and shortages of basic products from milk and flour to toilet paper and car batteries.
 
Both sides said those issues would figure high in the talks.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Tourism, Farm Groups See Bigger Business With Cuba

'We are the closest major food producer that Cuba has,' an American Farm Bureau Federation spokesman notes
More

Castro Lauds US Outreach, Says Cuba to Remain Communist

In speech to lawmakers, Cuba's president says economic reforms will be accelerated, yet changes will be gradual
More

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More

US Report: Immigration Officials' Apprehensions Rose in 2014

Apprehensions of Mexicans fall 14 percent; those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, rise 68 percent
More

Strife, Mutual Interests Mark Cuba-US Ties

Island nation was once a vacation destination for Americans; over years, many Cubans sought refuge across the Florida Straits
More

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change
More