Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

An International Facilitator. (OAS)

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

An International Facilitator. (OAS)

Article excerpt

SECRETARY GENERAL Cesar Gaviria has been working to facilitate talks between the government and opposition in Venezuela, amid a climate of continued political tension.

The negotiating process, which began in early November, suffered some delays and interruptions during its second week, due in part to street protests in Caracas and the call for a national strike. While acknowledging that the events outside affected the meetings, Gaviria told reporters he hoped that the parties could negotiate an electoral solution to the country's political crisis.

Under an accord reached between the government and an opposition coalition called the Coordinadora Democratica, Gaviria was named as international facilitator in the talks. The parties are seeking agreements "on resolving the country's political crisis through electoral means, as well as on the following topics: the strengthening of the electoral system, the disarming of the civilian population and the installation and operation of the Truth Commission," the accord states.

Gaviria installed the negotiating table with a plea for moderation and mutual respect. "Politics is a civilized competition of ideas, but for that competition to be constructive, it is imperative to have tolerance and respect for different ideas," he said. The Secretary General called for all actors in

Venezuelan political life to "do more to avoid cutting and provocative language that accentuates political differences and creates divisions and distances that seem beyond repair and therefore difficult to resolve democratically and peacefully. …

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