No breakthrough as Venezuela talks end in stalemate

April 11, 2014 | By | Reply More

Apr 11, Caracas – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leaders traded barbs for six hours late on Thursday in a debate over the last two months of anti-government protests, but found no common ground.

hromedia No breakthrough as Venezuela talks end in stalemate intl. news2Maduro had been widely praised for instituting the talks, but opposition leaders seemed uninterested in conciliation of any kind.

They used the opportunity to demand amnesty for people arrested in the recent wave of violent protests.

But President Maduro flatly refused the demands.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cautioned opposition leaders to keep their expectations modest on Thursday as he hosted them for mediated talks intended to stem two months of deadly political unrest.

Maduro has held similar meetings previously but this was the first to include Henrique Capriles, who Maduro narrowly beat in last year’s presidential election, and the first to be brokered by foreign ministers from the Unasur bloc of South American governments.

Maduro and opposition leaders traded barbs for six hours on national TV late Thursday over two months of nationwide anti-government protests but found no common ground.

The six-hour meeting coincided with violence that raised the death toll from the protests against Maduro’s rule to 41, and Capriles warned the unrest would escalate in the absence of political reforms.

Authorities said on Thursday a policeman was shot dead during a protest in western Barquisimeto city, and opposition activists said a woman died in hospital almost a month after being hit by a car while demonstrating in central Valencia.

Those fatalities brought the death toll to 41. “The road here was long and complicated, but it was worth it,” Maduro said earlier in lengthy opening comments.

He cautioned against unrealistic expectations. “There are no negotiations here. No pacts. All we’re looking for is a model of peaceful coexistence, of mutual tolerance.”

Dozens of anti-Maduro demonstrators remain in jail and some hardline opposition groups, including the party of jailed protest leader Leopoldo Lopez, boycotted the talks, which took place at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas and were broadcast live on every TV channel.

Opposition leaders demanded among other things amnesty for people arrested in the protests in this oil-rich but troubled country.

But Maduro refused these demands in the first such meeting since the unrest erupted.

Maduro called another meeting for Tuesday with government officials. During the debate he accused radical elements of the opposition of seeking to depose him.

He said the opposition must “condemn violence as a way of doing politics, as a form and strategy for changing governments.”

Capriles said “Venezuela is in a deeply critical situation.”

He said he does not want to see the government fall but Maduro must respect the constitution and halt what Capriles called repression.

Press journalist for HRo media – Norberto Lluch contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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