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  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero shake hands during their meeting in Caracas, Venezuela Jan. 19, 2017.

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero shake hands during their meeting in Caracas, Venezuela Jan. 19, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 January 2017

The agenda doesn't leave much room for negotiation as the two sides are fundamentally at odds, with the opposition seeking to oust the president.

The Vatican and the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, mediators of talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition, proposed a mechanism to verify compliance with the agreements as part of their efforts to unfreeze the process.

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Ernesto Samper, Secretary General of Unasur, explained that this is a "verification mechanism" to deal with complaints of non-compliance processes. He traveled to Caracas along with other facilitators of the talks, including former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The delegation was welcomed by President NIcolas Maduro in the presidential palace as a show of the socialist government's commitment to find a solution that benefits all Venezuelans. 

Talks between the Venezuelan government and the opposition began on October 30 under the auspices of the Vatican and Unasur. However they were halted on December 6 after the opposition withdrew from the negotiating table on the grounds that the government was not cooperating.

This new round of talks comes as the situation in the oil-rich South American country has worsened in the last months, with a recession that has affected millions of Venezuelans who suffer from food shortages and a spiraling inflation.

The government of Maduro claims shortages are deliberately caused by opposition sectors and private enterprises in order to cause destabilization.

The agenda doesn't leave much room for negotiation as the two sides are fundamentally at odds, with the opposition seeking the removal of President Nicolas Maduro, while officials will not leave office until his term ends in 2019.

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The fractured coalition, known as MUD, previously tried to impeach Maduro over his alleged “political responsibility” in violations of the constitution, human rights and democracy, dismissing the dialogue that the government has always promoted and calling on people to demonstrate in the streets.

Right-wing opponents are demanding the creation of a new Electoral Council by December and also to provide full power to the mandates emerging from the opposition-dominated National Assembly. They also are asking for the release of what they claim are “political prisoners."

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