Spotlight: Venezuelan lawmaker says expect progress in political dialogue

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CARACAS, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) — Despite various challenges facing Venezuela’s political and economic landscape, there is hope that ongoing conciliation talks between the government and opposition groups will make progress, a lawmaker of the South American country told Xinhua.

“The principal new development in the political arena during 2019 is that a democratic opposition has emerged that has come to the table for dialogue, which is making progress in terms of reaching agreements,” Francisco Torrealba, deputy of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in the National Assembly, told Xinhua.

Torrealba said he agrees with political analyst Nestor Rivero, who classifies the opposition into two camps: the one that “is sitting down with the Bolivarian government at the table for talks” and the one that “is promoting the path to instability.”

The first group aims to convince the people that “its political message is better than the others,” while the other group appears to be difficult to “take into consideration any policies that are in keeping with a democracy, constitutionality and dialogue as a means to deal with differences,” he added.

Talks with the first group, which gathers a variety of opposition parties, have “achieved important victories and with these parties we have succeeded in putting the interests of the country first,” the lawmaker said.

Rivero said legislative elections scheduled for next year will underscore that “peace is the first outcome of the talks,” which have been taking place since September.

“Venezuelan politics for 2020 will be marked by the election campaign for seats in the National Assembly,” he said, adding he expects the opposition parties to participate as part of the conciliation process.

Both Rivero and Torrealba stressed that U.S. hostility and meddling in Venezuela’s affairs have prevented the country from ironing out its political and economic crisis.

Escalating U.S. economic and financial sanctions on Venezuela have hurt the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela and other productive sectors.

Venezuela’s political turmoil reached a boiling point in January, after opposition leader Juan Guaido appointed himself as interim president and was immediately recognized by the United States.

That marked “a political and democratic setback” in Venezuela, said Torrealba.

As for the country’s economy in 2020, Rivero said President Nicolas Maduro’s government would make headway in its “main goal of building a productive and diversified economy.”

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