UPDATED 8:57 AM PT – Monday, August 16, 2021
Talks between Venezuelan socialist leader Nicolas Maduro’s regime and opposition leader Juan Guaido began in Mexico City. According to reports, the talks are designed to set the stage for negotiations between the two parties to move forward in the South American country.
The opposition, who is recognized as being the legitimate government by the U.S., is asking for the release of political prisoners and free elections. For their part, Maduro’s regime is demanding the U.S. lift sanctions on the country for talks to move forward.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price agreed with the opposition that free elections be held before sanctions are lifted.
“We’ve also been clear that the Maduro regime can create a path to easing sanctions by allowing Venezuelans to participate in long overdue free and fair presidential, parliamentary and local elections,” Price explained. “Creating the necessary conditions to enable free and fair elections take place in Venezuela.”
We join the EU and Canada in calling on parties to the Venezuelan-led negotiations announced today to engage in good faith to achieve a comprehensive and enduring solution that restores democracy to Venezuela. https://t.co/PhESJh1MRf
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) August 14, 2021
The newest round of talks follow failed discussions in 2018 and 2019. More than a dozen countries are expected to participate in the talks to end the crisis in Venezuela.