US delegation visits Venezuela amid hushed diplomacy

Caracas, Jun 28 (EFE).- Venezuela’s government and its opposition remained tight-lipped on Tuesday about a visit by a delegation from the United States to the country.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the arrival of the delegation on Monday night but did not offer any other details, so it is unknown who and how many people traveled to Caracas, or their agenda.

Maduro only confirmed that the president of parliament, Jorge Rodríguez, received “an important delegation” from US President Joe Biden’s government to follow up on talks initiated on Mar. 5 and the bilateral agenda of both countries.

Venezuela and the US have not had ambassadors in each other’s capitals since 2010 but continue to have diplomatic representation.

The opposition political alliance, Plataforma Unitaria, said on Tuesday that it had held a meeting with the delegation.

“On the occasion of the visit of the US delegation, we have met today to coordinate efforts for the resumption of the negotiation process,” the alliance said in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Gerardo Blyde.

The opposition said it was ready to “immediately” resume the negotiation process under the memorandum of understanding signed by both parties in Mexico in August, which aims to “end the suffering of Venezuelans and achieve change through the most powerful instrument that the citizen has, the vote.”

Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is recognized as interim president of Venezuela by some countries, including the US, met US diplomat James Story in Caracas, a source close to him confirmed to EFE on Tuesday.

Story, the ambassador to the Venezuela Affairs Unit based at the US Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, is visiting the Caribbean country, according to the same source who did not explain if the official is part of the delegation sent by the White House.

Talks between Venezuela and the US began on Mar. 5 when rumors began to circulate that a high-level delegation sent by Biden had met Maduro at the Miraflores palace, his official residence. The White House confirmed the reports two days later.

On the same day, Maduro confirmed his meeting “with a high-level US delegation,” and expressed his willingness to “move forward on an agenda that facilitates well-being and peace” after years of confrontation between the two countries.

He added that the talks would continue to “move forward,” in pursuit of “a positive agenda” between Biden’s and his government.

One of the conditions that the US has set for the resumption and stabilization of ties with Venezuela is that both the opposition and the ruling party return to Mexico City to restart talks. EFE


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