The first meeting for a dialogue between Chavists and the opposition this week in Venezuela was followed by a day of reflection that included cheers, criticism and skepticism about its effects on the country’s political crisis.
Thursday’s meeting of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other representatives of Chavism with members of the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, along with foreign ministers of Unasur nations and the papal nuncio, ended with an agreement to meet again next Tuesday.
Maduro on Friday described the “debate” held at Miraflores presidential palace as “excellent.”
Opposition leader and ex-presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said “the great challenge” at this time is for “the whole country to believe in a process of dialogue.”
“How do we achieve that? With results. If there are no results it will just be rhetoric and that will be a tremendous frustration for our people,” Capriles said.
Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges said during a CNN interview Friday that he was grateful for the obligatory broadcast on all radio and television channels that gave him and his colleagues the chance to explain the position of their political group to all Venezuelans in a perfectly “transparent” way.
Borges said he will stay with these talks without abandoning street protests because “dialogue without social pressure gets nowhere, nor does social pressure without an agenda.”
Meanwhile, the speaker of the National Assembly, the Chavist Diosdado Cabello, and opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, expressed Friday their rejection of the dialogue because the other side was not to be trusted.
Cabello said those sitting down to talk with the government Thursday “are the same” that tried to pull off a coup against President Hugo Chavez in 2002, while Machado, removed from her seat in the legislature by the Chavist majority, said Friday: “If they believe that with this farce of a dialogue they’re going to fool the international community, they’re wrong.”
The first meeting for dialogue came after two months of anti-government street protests, in which 41 people have been killed and 674 wounded.