Caracas: The Venezuelan government released four political activists while the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) suspended a political trial in Congress against President Nicolas Maduro, a sign showing both sides may be willing to negotiate.
The opposition on Tuesday welcomed the freeing of the prisoners but warned more needed to be done for the negotiations to move forward, Xinhua news agency reported.
The MUD has made clear that, despite its participation in talks with the government, it will not stop pressuring the government in other ways to restore the derailed referendum to recall Maduro.
MUD’s Executive Secretary Jesus Torrealba called the releases “important but insufficient”.
“The releases need to continue. They should reinstate the recall referendum or, failing that, advance presidential elections,” he said.
Venezuelan Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz said on Tuesday that the recently begun dialogue process between the government and the opposition would promote development and peace in the country.
“Dialogue is crucial for acknowledgement between diverse political sectors,” said Isturiz in an interview with the state-owned Radio Nacional de Venezuela.
Envoys from Maduro’s government and the MUD met late Sunday. The two sides agreed to discuss four central topics — how to bring about peace and justice, making amends to victims and reconciliation, social and economic stability, and setting a general election date.
Isturiz said the first of these topics — peace and justice — was particularly important.
The Vatican, along with former heads of state from Panama, Dominican Republic and Spain, as well as the regional bloc Unasur are trying to bring the adversary parties of Venezuela to the negotiating table, in a bid to avoid further chaos and bloodshed in the country.