Venezuela: Leaders and opposition party discuss economic meltdown
By James Blears
The talks in Mexico City will start on Saturday and diplomats from Norway will oversee and mediate them. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he's proud Mexico has been chosen, and it'll take a back seat facilitating conditions, fostering an efficient working environment. Discussions ground to a halt last year, following the extradition of businessman and Venezuelan Government ally Alex Saab to the United States on money laundering charges from Cape Verde in West Africa.
Now with tensions easing, the Agenda will focus on a social program aimed at elevating Venezuela's dire economic crisis and try to set a time framework for a Presidential Election, monitored by international observers. Chief Government Negotiator Jorge Rodriguez says the social agreement will help with needs brought about by blockages created by the international financial system. The US has led a campaign of economic sanctions against the Venezuelan Government which have crippled its economy. More than seven million Venezuelans have fled the country, unable to cope with its spiralling poverty.
Following the re-election of President Nicolas Maduro, Opposition Leader Juan Guido declared himself Interim President and is supported by more than fifty nations. But this didn't dislodged Maduro, who retains the confidence of his political allies and the nation's armed forces.
These latest talks are to provide a lifeline to save a country which is on the brink.
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