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

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexico Police Investigate Police Link in Shooting Deaths of US Siblings

Deaths of Erica Alvarado Rivera, her brothers and boyfriend as they traveled to visit family is third high-profile case in recent months that links security forces to extrajudicial killings
More

Lawmaker Blasts US Participation in Cuba Ebola Meeting

Mario Diaz-Balart said ALBA, which chaired the meeting, 'was created solely to oppose US interests' and US participation was 'ludicrous'
More

US Coast Guard Rescues 33 Cubans at Sea

Because the overloaded boat did not make landfall, those rescued will be returned to Cuba
More

Western Experts Increasingly Fear Lone Wolf Terror Attacks

Slaying and assault on Canada's parliament building was followed by a hatchet attack on two New York City policemen
More

Search Underway at New Site in Mexico Missing Students Case

This week marked one month since the students went missing after clashing with police in mysterious circumstances
More

Public Transport in Latin America, Asia Most Dangerous for Women

Thousands of women and gender experts were questioned to create the listing
More