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

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.

    More Americas News

    Canada Ending Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

    Canadian PM Trudeau said a campaign of airstrikes is useful for bringing short-term gains, but not for long-term stability

    Cuban Baseball Stars, the Gurriel Brothers, Abandon Team

    A record 150 baseball players defected last year; Gurriels deemed exceptional loss because of skill, fame and perceived loyalty

    Colombia: Rebels Must Free Hostages Before Any Peace Talks

    National Liberation Army (ELN) has been holding civilian Ramon Jose Cabrales, of eastern Norte de Santander province, for five months

    Canada to End Bombing Missions in Iraq, Syria

    Public opinion polls show Canadians are sharply divided over the role of their country's military in the fight against Islamic State

    USOC: US Athletes Should Stay Home if Worried About Zika

    US Olympic Committee tells sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over virus should consider not going to Rio Games

    Haiti's President Leaves Office Without a Successor

    Embattled Haitian President Michel Martelly left office Sunday as required by Haiti's constitution, ending his 5-year term with no one elected to replace him