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Split emerges in Venezuela opposition over talks with gov’t

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 4:31 PM
Venezuela's National Assembly President and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido speaks during a rally at the Municipality of El Hatillo, Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, September 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Leonardo Fernandez)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A minority group of opposition parties in Venezuela agreed Monday to enter negotiations with President Nicolas Maduro’s government without the participation of U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó, eroding his efforts to hold together a coalition to confront the socialist administration.

The agreement was signed by representatives of several opposition parties alongside Maduro’s top aides in a nationally televised event attended by foreign diplomats.

It marks the first significant split in the anti-Maduro camp since Guaidó, as head of the opposition-controlled congress, declared himself interim president in January, citing what was seen as Maduro’s fraudulent re-election last year.

Guaidó quickly drew recognition from the U.S. and more than 50 nations.

Lawmaker Timoteo Zambrano, an opposition lawmaker who signed the agreement, was critical of the efforts led by the larger anti-Maduro parties.

He didn’t directly mention Guaidó.

Zambrano said he and the others seek to recover time lost due to the “ambition of some and the mistakes of us all.” He urged support from the international community.

“We ask the governments of the region and the world to listen, value and support this path,” Zambrano said.

The talks will focus on reforming Venezuela’s electoral board as well as finding a solution to the impasse caused by the creation of a pro-government constitutional assembly to rival the opposition-controlled congress.

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