Venezuela and opposition to resume talks in Barbados, mediator Norway says

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Venezuela’s government and opposition will resume their dialogue, mediated by Norway, with talks scheduled for Tuesday in Barbados, Norway’s embassy in Mexico said Monday in a brief statement posted to the platform X.

Mexico hosted multiple rounds of talks in 2021 and 2022. When they last met in November 2022, the sides agreed to create a U.N.-managed fund to finance health, food and education programs for the poor.

The U.S. government, in response, agreed to allow oil giant Chevron to pump Venezuelan oil.

Colombia and other countries have tried in recent months to restart negotiations, but the government of President Nicolás Maduro has demanded that the U.S. drop economic sanctions and unfreeze Venezuelan funds held overseas as a condition of resuming talks.

Norway’s statement Monday said that the two sides had decided to resume the dialogue “with the objective of reaching a political agreement.” Venezuela’s government did not immediately comment.

The dialogue formally began in September 2021, but President Maduro’s delegates walked away from negotiations in October 2021 after Colombia-born businessman Alex Saab was extradited on money laundering charges from Cape Verde to the U.S. Maduro conditioned a resumption on the release of Saab.

The political, social and economic crisis that has come to define Venezuela has evolved since it began a decade ago as a result of a global drop in the price of oil, Venezuela’s most valuable resource, mismanagement by the self-proclaimed socialist administration and government repression of its opponents.

A brief period of relative economic stability has again been shaken by jumping food prices, business closures and another wave of emigration.

The talks were scheduled to take place in Bridgetown, Barbados.

FILE – Venezuelan President of the National Assembly Jorge Rodriguez, left, shakes hands with Venezuelan opposition delegate Gerardo Blyde Perez in Mexico City, Aug. 13, 2021. Venezuela’s government and opposition will resume their dialogue, mediated by Norway, with talks scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 17,2023 in Barbados, Norway’s embassy in Mexico said on Oct. 16, 2023 in a brief statement. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

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