CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met on Tuesday with three of the four opposition governors who took their oaths of office on Monday before the Constituent National Assembly (ANC), an overarching legislative body comprised solely of government-supporting lawmakers and thus considered to be illegitimate by a sizable portion of the international community.
“It was a cordial, positive meeting,” said Maduro after the get-together with the governors at Miraflores presidential palace, adding that the meeting and the relationship he has established with those opposition officials is translating into “a consolidation of Venezuelan democracy.”
He said that he spoke with the governors for more than an hour.
The three officials on hand were Merida Gov. Ramon Guevara, and the governors of Nueva Esparta and Anzoategui, Alfredo Diaz and Antonio Barreto, respectively. They are three of the five opposition candidates who won their races in the regional elections on Oct. 15, where government supporters won the gubernatorial races in 18 of the country’s 23 provinces.
Maduro said that the governor of Tachira state, Laidy Gomez, the fourth official to be inaugurated before the ANC, said she could not come to Miraflores Palace due to prior “commitments.”
All the governors belong to the Democratic Action party which, as a result, has been severely criticized by the rest of the political organizations belonging to the opposition MUD alliance.
Maduro said that at the meeting he told the governors that they have his full support as head of state.
Also present at the meeting were first lady and ANC member Cilia Flores, Vice President Tareck El Aissami and Minister Erika Farias.
At a press conference before the meeting, Gomez said – in the name of her three other colleagues – that the group had preferred to “accept the political cost” of possible sanctions by their party for appearing before the ANC, after the party had urged them not to do so.
She insisted that their meeting with the ANC leadership does not mean that they recognize that entity and said that what she and her colleagues will do is simply to carry out the “mandate of the people” who elected them.
“We’re going to govern and fight for the people ... Many don’t think that is possible,” she said.