European, U.S. and Latin America diplomats meet in Colombia to discuss Venezuelan political crisis
The summit’s goal is to restart the talks between the government and Nicolas Maduro and opposition political parties, in hopes that it will lead to free elections in the South American country
April 26, 2023 11:24pm
Updated: April 26, 2023 11:27pm
Diplomats from several countries, including the United States, European Union, and Latin America met in Colombia on Tuesday to discuss the political situation in Venezuela and encourage free elections in the country.
The meeting was hosted in the San Carlos Palace in Bogota by Colombian President Gustavo Petro. Delegates from more than 19 countries and the European Union attended the meeting, including the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Members from both the regime of Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition attended the meeting.
“The history of Latin America is in our hands,” Petro told the diplomats in his opening speech.
The summit’s goal is to restart the talks between the Nicolas Maduro regime and opposition political parties, in hopes that it will lead to free elections in the South American country. The last time the two sides held talks was last year in Mexico, however, no progress was made and they fizzled out in December.
While the summit on Tuesday did not produce any concrete results, a meeting for a later date is being planned. However, the diplomats agreed on the need for free elections and the lifting of sanctions against Venezuela, said Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva after the meeting.
Some attendees "will inform President Nicolas Maduro, the opposition political parties, and civil society of the results for their evaluation and comments," Leyva said after the five-hour-long meeting.
Last weekend, Petro met with representatives of the Venezuelan opposition, the Unitary Platform alliance. The opposition claims that Maduro’s party is controlling the country’s electoral authority, thereby hindering free and transparent elections.
Maduro was re-elected in 2018 after Venezuelan judges banned his main opponents from competing in the elections. The opposition and the governments of several countries refused to recognize the result of the rig election and instead recognized an interim government, which was led by Juan Guaido.
In light of the election results, the United States also imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan regime, including cutting its access to U.S. banks and targeting the country’s oil exports.