Good news! says President Maduro on advances through Dialogue.

Con el Mazo Dando | 18 de mayo de 2019

Translation:

The President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, highlighted the advances that were obtained in the first rapprochement around the dialogue held in Oslo, Norway by a group of representatives of the Venezuelan opposition and delegates of the legitimate government over which he presides.

"The talks have started well to move towards agreements of peace, concord, harmony and I ask for the support of the people," he said, thanking the Kingdom of Norway for its role in facilitating this first meeting.

Via telephone communication with those attending the meeting of the youth political vanguard of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Jpsuv), the Head of State predicted that these talks will bring "good news" to the country and stressed that his biggest bet is on dialogue.

"I believe in the path of politics, of dialogue, of diplomacy, of reason, of truth," he said.

The President recalled that this Friday he had a meeting with representatives of the Contact Group of the European Union, to whom he explained the truth about Venezuela and reaffirmed his commitment to international respect and dialogue.

"It was a very fruitful meeting where I told them the truth of what is happening in the country so they do not continue to be deceived," he said. SOURCE

NOTE: The International Contact Group on Venezuela (ICG) was established at the beginning of 2019 at the European Union's initiative. Among members of the Contact Group are representatives of the UK, the EU countries of Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Sweden, and the Latin American countries of Bolivia, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ecuador. If I am not mistaken all of these countries' governments, with the exception of Bolivia and Portugal, had recognised the "self-appointed interim president" and in addition the E.U. has been participating in imposing sanctions against Venezuela. I had concluded therefore that they could play no unbiased role in any effort to assist. At the very least, I thought that this coalition should be ignored. My conviction was strengthened when I read their latest statement on Venezuela.  If I had been reading hard copy and had used a red pen to underline and write notes in the margins, it would have resembled a conflagration upon completion. I found their "advice" which, by the way, they would never take from anyone else if they were under similar circumstances, to be sticky-beaked, self-promoting, condescending, biased, injurious, interventionist and hypocritical. Obviously, I am not a diplomat. When I learned that they were going to visit Venezuela and would be meeting with President Maduro and others, I had to convince myself that that government had probably recognized in them competencies or uses which had probably escaped my justifiably over-protective eye. Reading President Maduro's recent statement above, I unwillingly accepted his satisfaction that at least they had given themselves the opportunity to witness and to hear other perspectives. It remains to be seen whether their approach will change.

I have included below the most recent statement of the International Contact Group on Venezuela which was presented in early May. Note that Bolivia is not included among those members that agreed to this declaration. Perhaps Bolivia turned away because of concerns similar to mine.

Following that statement you will find the most recent statement of another coalition of the willing - the Lima Group. It speaks for itself. Their agenda is blatant and not even diplomacy-speak could disguise it. These sharks like nothing better than a good chum party and in this statement the imperial Kool-Aid is on tap.

As always, I look forward to a good outcome for Venezuela and more than anything, I want the Venezuelan people to succeed without admitting any Trojan Horses or the usual suspects who happily exacerbate Venezuela's problems, create new ones in the process, and then show up down the line to add insult to the injury by peddling/imposing their proprietary snake oil with the long list of entrapping conditions on the label.

Venezuela: Statement from the Ministerial Meeting of the International Contact Group.

1. The International Contact Group (ICG) met on 6 and 7 May in San José, Costa Rica, at ministerial level. Concerned by the recent events in Venezuela, the ICG members renewed their commitment to a political, peaceful, democratic and Venezuelan-owned solution, through the holding of free and fair presidential elections as soon as possible.

2. The ICG reaffirms its strong rejection of the use of force against civilians and expresses its deep condolences to the families and friends of the victims. The Group urges the security forces to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life and suffering. Irregular armed groups must be disbanded. Those responsible for indiscriminate violence will be held accountable. The right to peaceful protest must be respected and demonstrations should remain non-violent. The Group firmly condemns acts of violence against journalists and underlines that media freedom must be respected.

3. The priority now is to avoid further escalation of an already extremely tense situation. For this it is imperative to reinstate democracy, rule of law and separation of powers. Current events confirm that the only sustainable way out of the current crisis is an inclusive, democratic and peaceful one, in the framework of the country’s constitution. No actions of a repressive, judicial or political nature should be taken that would make this possibility more remote.

4. The ICG firmly condemns flawed judicial processes aimed at criminalising protest and political opinions, such as the proceedings initiated against several representatives of the National Assembly. Party leaders and members need to be able to carry out their work peacefully without intimidation and reprisals. The democratically elected National Assembly, under its President Juan Guaidó, should remain in the centre of the political life in the country, its constitutional prerogatives should be respected and in accordance with its national legislation, the parliamentary immunity of its members should be fully guaranteed. In this regard, the Group also condemns the enforced disappearance of Representative Gilber Caro, whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. It holds the relevant authorities responsible for his safety and integrity.

5. Building on the work done since the Quito Ministerial Declaration, the ICG stresses that the best way forward lies in a credible negotiated political process, with the objective of bringing the country to democratic elections. This requires urgent meaningful confidence building measures, such as the release of political prisoners and changes in the respective branches of power in order to make them independent and accountable. The ICG will continue to support and facilitate efforts that can allow the country to move in this direction.

6. The ICG expresses its deep concern about the suffering of the Venezuelan people caused by increased insecurity and the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation, which has been further exacerbated by the lack of electricity and water supply in many areas of the country. In view of this, the ICG fully supports the ongoing efforts of the United Nations to establish an effective humanitarian response system and to deliver assistance to those most in need. In this regard, it also underlines the urgent need for a substantial humanitarian response that is commensurate with needs and in full compliance with the humanitarian principles and resolution 46/182 of UNGA. It is important and urgent that humanitarian organisations have unimpeded access and can effectively deliver and significantly scale up assistance swiftly, without constraints, free from any political interference.

7. The ICG commends the progress made since its last meeting in the functioning of the humanitarian response system working under the umbrella of ECCA (Equipo de coordinación de cooperacion y asistencia) and in the delivery of humanitarian support to people in need, and notes the important contribution of the ICG to these efforts.

8. However, the implementation capacity is still weak compared to the scale of need. The ICG therefore calls for further steps to facilitate the establishment of additional specialised national and international organisations –in particular INGO’s- in the country and to facilitate deployment of humanitarian operations on the ground, in accordance with commitments made by the relevant actors. To follow up on these commitments, and to step up work in support of ECCA, the ICG will set up a humanitarian working group in Caracas. The Group calls on donors to enhance contributions. The donor community should coordinate more effectively and the ICG welcomes the EU proposal to host a first meeting with this purpose.

9. While the solution to Venezuela’s crisis needs to come from Venezuelans, the international community has a duty and a responsibility to contribute to creating the conditions for peace, democracy, rule of law and human rights to prevail in Venezuela. In this respect, having reviewed its contribution so far, the ICG has decided to continue its work subject to periodical assessment of progress made. The ICG is ready to undertake a mission at political level to Caracas, to present and discuss concrete options for a peaceful and democratic solution to this crisis.

10. The International Contact Group will continue to engage with its regional and international partners towards a political, peaceful and democratic solution. It welcomes the participation of the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis -in its capacity of Chair of the CARICOM-, the Secretary General of the CARICOM and the representative from the Holy See in the outreach session of the meeting. It also welcomes and accepts the invitation extended by the Lima Group of countries to meet. It has decided to have similar exchanges with CARICOM countries and other relevant interlocutors. The group has also decided to convene again at ministerial level, in the near future, to assess developments and decide next steps.

This statement has been agreed by the following ICG members: the EU, eight of its Member States (France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) and three countries from Latin America (Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay). SOURCE


Statement of Lima Goup after Emergency Meeting in Lima, Peru - May 3, 2019.

Lima Group Declaration
May 3, 2019

"The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, faced with the beginning of the decisive phase of the process to recover democracy and put an end to the usurpation of the presidency:

1. Reaffirm their full support for the actions undertaken during the last few days by the Venezuelan people under the leadership of interim President Juan Guaidó to peacefully restore the rule of law in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in accordance with constitutional order, and encourage him to persevere in this effort.

2. Strongly condemn the repression of the illegitimate and dictatorial regime of Nicolás Maduro, which has again caused many deaths and hundreds of wounded and detainees; deplore the appointment of Gustavo González López as the Head of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), who symbolizes the systematic violation of human rights perpetrated by the regime, adding to the alleged crimes against humanity presented for consideration to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

3. Demand full respect for the life, physical integrity, and freedom of all Venezuelans, of interim President Juan Guaidó, as well as the re-establishment of the political and constitutional rights of the Vice President of the National Assembly, Edgar Zambrano, and all of its members, in addition to the immediate release of all political prisoners.

4. Call on the members of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces to comply with their constitutional mandate to serve their nation, and on the members of the Supreme Court of Justice to cease their complicit support for the illegitimate regime.

5. Agree to propose to the International Contact Group an urgent meeting of representatives of both groups to seek convergence on the common goal of achieving the return of democracy in Venezuela, and invite other members of the international community committed to that purpose to join efforts to achieve this objective.

6. Express their satisfaction with the decision to hold the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela, in Lima, in July, with the participation of all states that support democratic recovery in that country.

7. Highlight Chile’s holding of a seminar on democratic transitions in June, with the participation of Venezuelan democratic leaders.

8. Urge the international community, the United Nations system, and its Secretary-General to take unequivocal measures of protection aimed at alleviating the consequences of the humanitarian crisis suffered by Venezuelans, for which the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro is exclusively responsible.

9. Urge the international community and the United Nations system to increase cooperation with host countries to respond to the massive exodus of Venezuelans.

10. Reiterate their call to Russia, Turkey and all countries that continue to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro to support the process of democratic transition.

11. Agree to undertake all necessary actions in order for Cuba to participate in the search for a solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

12. Decide to cooperate with international mechanisms to fight corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, and other offences in order to combat the perpetration of these types of crimes by members of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, his family members and his supporters.

13. Condemn the threat posed by the protection offered by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro to terrorist groups operating inside Colombian territory, as well as any attempt to destabilize Colombian institutions, to threaten the life and safety of President Iván Duque, or to undermine regional security.

14. Decide to remain in permanent session and to hold the next meeting in Guatemala City.

15. Encourage the Venezuelan people to persevere in their fight to recover democracy, and acknowledge the courage and patriotism of those members of the armed forces who have supported them in this decisive phase." SOURCE


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