Venezuela talks with opposition conclude in Barbados, no deal announced

Venezuela talks with opposition conclude in Barbados, no deal announced
FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Communications and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez speaks during a broadcast at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela March 25, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS -
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CARACAS (Reuters) – Talks between Venezuela’s government and the opposition about how to address the country’s political crisis concluded on Wednesday with no announcement of a deal.

“This round of talks for dialogue and peace in Barbados has concluded,” Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez, who led the government’s delegation, wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday, describing it as “a successful exchange promoted by the government of Norway.”

Representatives of the ruling Socialist Party met with adversaries of President Nicolas Maduro this week in Barbados as part of talks meant to ease a political stalemate resulting from Maduro’s disputed 2018 re-election.

A Venezuelan opposition source who asked not to be identified said the two sides could meet again on Monday in Barbados.

The press team for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognised by more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, said the opposition would make a statement about the talks in the coming hours.

The Norwegian foreign ministry declined to comment on the progress of the talks.

Rumors have been circulating in recent days that the opposition was seeking a presidential election within nine months and that Maduro would not be in power during the vote.

Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello, who is influential in Maduro’s government, on Wednesday night dismissed the idea that any presidential election was in the works.

“Here there are no presidential elections; here the president is named Nicolas Maduro,” Cabello said during a televised broadcast.

Venezuela is suffering a hyperinflationary economic meltdown that has resulted in malnutrition and disease and spurred a migration exodus of more than 4 million citizens.

Guaido in January invoked the constitution to assume a rival interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Mayela Armas in Caracas, additional reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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