Government, Opposition in Venezuela Mark Progress in Talks

World | April 16, 2014, Wednesday // 16:02|  views

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Photo by EPA/BGNES

Venezuela's government and opposition representatives made their first breakthrough in negotiations called to wind down tensions in the country.

After five hours of negotiations, the two sides agreed to enhance the strength and role of the Truth Commission that would investigate into the violence rocking Venezuela since February, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

The Truth Commission was initially proposed by President Nicolas Maduro, but his ruling party is to be now assisted by opposition members.

It was firstly envisaged that five ruling-party lawmakers and four opposition MPs form the body, but the Democratic Alternative had declared it would boycott it.

The Alternative is now also to be included in the plan called Patria Segura (Safe Homeland), which outlines measures to fight crime in Venezuela.

Demands of amnesty to anti-government activists, hundreds of which have been detained in two months, were rejected by the government.

High level of crime, plummeting standards and commodities' shortages were among the main reasons for thousands of Venezuelans to flock to the streets in towns and cities across the country over the last two months.

More than 40 people had died before the President and protest representatives agreed on talks, a move to which the UNASUR, a bloc of South American states, significantly contributed as a broker.

Parts of the opposition, however, have vowed not to back talks with the government and have insisted they will demand that Maduro and the cabinet resign.

Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded long-time leader Hugo Chavez after his death in 2012, has repeatedly claimed that demonstrations are part of a US-backed plot to destabilize the country and topple down the ruling party.

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Tags: Maduro, opposition, talks, Venezuela, UNASUR, government, Patria Segura, Truth Commission


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