The Venezuelan government and opposition fractions held a second round of negotiations in Mexico City over the weekend starting in September, 2021.

The four-day talks were reportedly mediated by Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands and Russia, and build on a “constructive” initial workgroup established in August, in which both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

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The first agreement, he informed, concerned joint efforts to “defend Venezuela’s inalienable sovereignty over the [disputed] Essequibo strip” which Guaidó had allegedly offered to bargain away in exchange for political support from the UK in 2019.

The second one was to “defend Venezuela’s economy” and increase social coverage for the Venezuelan people, especially in the fight against Covid-19 and hunger.

Rodríguez suggested that funds for social coverage would come from the liberation of frozen or confiscated Venezuelan assets abroad.

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A joint communique released by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry stated that the parties would look to secure access to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

Finally, the lawmaker announced that dialogue will resume between September 24 and 27 and will address the rule of law, among other issues. Moderate opposition sectors and left-wing government opponents were not invited.

The negotiations brought together representatives of the hard-line Guaidó network backed by Washington under the banner of the so-called “Unitary Platform,” and the Nicolás Maduro government.

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The latest round also included Guaidó ally Freddy Guevara, who was granted house arrest in exchange for prison time on terrorism charges following the initial talks.

Guevara replaced Guaidó’s US representative Carlos Vecchio who withdrew after the government reportedly “requested his exclusion” from the delegation.

Vecchio has spearheaded efforts to seize Venezuela’s US-based oil subsidiary CITGO and a number of other Venezuelan assets, including Citibank accounts. He likewise led the forcible takeover of Venezuela’s embassy building in Washington DC.

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Venezuelan president Maduro explained that he considers the negotiations to be indirectly held with the Biden administration.

When we sit down at the table [in Mexico], we understand that we are sitting down with the US government because they [the Unitary Platform] are politicians who are dependent on the USA.

The extreme opposition has caused plenty of damage to Venezuelan families, including in the robbing of CITGO, the heist of more than US $8 billion in foreign bank accounts and the seizing of the gold stored in the Bank of England.

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The latest dialogue effort follows failed initiatives in 2019 in both Norway and Barbados, with government representatives walking away after the US imposed new wide-reaching sanctions.

Likewise, in 2017-8, opposition leaders abandoned the negotiating table in the Dominican Republic reportedly after then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson phoned lead negotiator Julio Borges.

While the Mexico negotiations have the backing of Washington, Canada and the European Union, they have, however, generated criticism within Venezuela from both grassroots opposition and revolutionary sectors.

Venezuela Analysis / ABC Flash Point News 2021.

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