Venezuelan opposition group to participate in dialogue with government

Caracas, Aug 11 (EFE).- The Venezuelan opposition sector headed by two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles will participate in the dialogue process with the government of Nicolas Maduro that will take place in Mexico and, presumably, will begin later this week, Capriles confirmed on Wednesday.

At a press conference, Capriles, who is a member of the Primero Justicia (PJ) party despite the fact that he has publicly expressed differences with its leadership, said that the general secretary of the political grouping, Tomas Guanipa, will be part of the opposition delegation, which is slated to begin its work on Friday.

Also on the opposition negotiating committee, Capriles said, will be Stalin Gonzalez, who is not a member of the PJ but has worked closely with Capriles, uniting with him in 2020 to negotiate with the government, dialogue sessions that led to the release of 50 political prisoners. Capriles also said that the dialogue “seeks, like all such processes, to include” different sectors and “to generate results” so that “there won’t be another failure,” although to avoid that it “must be efficient.”

“I think that the process should never be a television ‘show’ or something for the communications media,” he emphasized.

In addition, Capriles said that the negotiations should discuss a wider range of matters than merely “political issues, with electoral timetables.”

“It’s very important (to discuss) economic, social (issues) that enable the crisis being experienced by the tremendous majority of the (Venezuelan) people to be alleviated,” he said.

Capriles also called the talks something that “compliments the electoral process” that will culminate on Nov. 21, when Venezuelans will go to the polls to elect mayors and state governors, along with local and regional lawmakers.

Regarding those elections, he expressed his support for having the opposition participate in them despite the fact that the sector headed by Juan Guaido has demonstrated its reticence to do so.

“I’m going to vote on Nov. 21. It’s a decision that is more than clear to me, but one stone doesn’t make a mountain. I’m just one vote,” he said.

Among the reasons that motivated Capriles to make this decision is the new National Electoral Council (CNE), selected by the current Chavista-majority Parliament, but on which two of the five members are from the opposition: Enrique Marquez and Roberto Picon.

Capriles views the presence of both on the CNE as “a guarantee,” given that it suggests “without any doubt” that they will speak out if they detect any fraud.

He also added that the naming of the members of the CNE “moved the political board.”

Capriles did not comment regarding his refusal to participate in the 2018 presidential elections, in which Maduro was reelected despite criticism from the international community, or in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

“I didn’t vote … Now, reviewing whether it was better or worse, OK, I think that you have to vote and motivate people and you have to go out to be a voice of the people. That’s my view,” he said.

He went on to say that he invited the public to “make use of this weapon” – that is, their votes – and “not give them as a present to the regime.”

All this has the aim of “breaking with this inertia that gets us into a bad spot and we wind up not being able to get out.”

Regarding the decision by other opposition sectors, which – hypothetically – are rejecting participating in the upcoming elections, he said that going to the polls “is a very personal decision.”

“Whoever doesn’t vote, that’s his decision. What I think is that the leader had to tell the people that if they don’t vote, what then?” he added.

He concluded his remarks by saying that the “overarching objective” is for the opposition to win the presidential election, but he asked rhetorically how that objective could be arrived at under “better conditions.”

In that regard, Capriles concluded that, if opposition figures were in place as governors and mayors, such a scenario would favor achieving the aim of ultimately winning a presidential vote.

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