Maduro makes futile attempt to reach out to opposition

Venezuelan authorities intend to hold dialogue with the opposition led by Juan Guaido but President Nicolas Maduro’s opponents are rejecting talks, Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa told Izvestia. He added that Caracas was determined to take part in meetings on Venezuela that would be held in the coming months. However, it is unclear if the opposition will participate.

According to Academic Secretary of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Latin American Studies Dmitry Rozental, the opposition is unwilling to enter the talks because it does not trust the Maduro government. "Peace talks would offer a real way out of the situation but the problem is that there is no basis for them," the expert told the newspaper. "The opposition believes Maduro will use talks just to buy time. And anyway, it is obvious that Maduro is not ready to step down," he added.

"The crucial question is who the army will support, this is what the situation will depend on. Maduro, the opposition and the Americans who support Guaido all realize this," Russian Institute for Strategic Studies expert Igor Pshenichnikov told the paper. "The United States is trying to put pressure on certain military officers to get them on its side. Bribery is an easy method to do it. Nevertheless, most of the army personnel still support Maduro, for the military understands that a state coup attempt is underway in the country," he noted.

Political tensions in Venezuela are rising at a time when the country is facing a social and economic catastrophe: there is a complete shortage of goods, wages are extremely low and the inflation rate has hit the 1.3 mln percent mark. In this situation, both Maduro and Guaido have run into financial hurdles. In particular, problems were stirred up by the US that had blocked some of Venezuela’s foreign assets and vowed to hand their control over to the opposition. However, the Venezuelan Supreme Court has ruled to freeze all of Guaido’s accounts within the country so it is now unclear who will get access to the money and how it will be done.

Additionally, Washington has slapped sanctions on the PDVSA state oil company, which is one of the Maduro government’s few sources of income. "Economically, Venezuela has its back against the wall and the US sanctions against the PDVSA are a very heavy blow as oil accounts for 98% of the country’s exports," Rozental explained. "Moreover, Caracas is having issues with selling Venezuela’s gold. This is why Maduro has just as many financial difficulties as the opposition," the expert concluded.

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