CARACAS – Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, chief Ernesto Samper announced on Thursday that the Venezuelan government and opposition both accepted the presence of a Vatican representative in negotiations for beginning a dialogue on the country’s political crisis.
“We have found acceptance between the parties so that this task ... will be accompanied by the Vatican. It seems to me that it’s good news that there will be a joint acceptance of this request,” Samper told reporters after the meeting he held with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro along with the former presidents mediating for a dialogue.
He added that the presence of the Vatican “will enrich (the country) spiritually and politically.”
Making this announcement fulfilled one of the conditions established by the Venezuelan opposition for engaging in dialogue with the Chavista government, on July 7 announcing five conditions for any talks.
At that time, the opposition requested broadening international mediation in Venezuela’s crisis to include the Vatican, changing the site for negotiations to Venezuela, an end to “illegitimate” arrests, the holding of a referendum and recognition by Parliament.
Samper – who since Wednesday has been in Caracas along with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, former Panamanian President Martin Torrijos and former Dominican President Leonel Fernandez – said that the mediators are not intending to intervene in Venezuelan affairs but rather “to facilitate the conditions for establishment of a dialogue.”
“The world is divided between those who curse the darkness and those who seek the light. This team, Mr. President, is seeking light for Venezuela and we hope to be able to find it and are sure that in just a few days the light of dialogue will appear,” Samper said.
The Unasur chief and the three ex-leaders met with Maduro on Thursday in Miraflores Palace to discuss the prospects for dialogue with the opposition.
A few hours earlier, the four had met with representatives of the Venezuelan opposition with the same objective, opposition sources told EFE.
On Wednesday evening, Samper and the mediators met with a government delegation including Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez and the mayor of the Caracas municipality of Libertador, Jorge Rodriguez.