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Venezuelan Government and Opposition Hold Talks in Norway. Did U.S. and Russia Play a Role?

May 16, 2019 (EIRNS)—Today, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Jorge Valero confirmed that talks are currently taking place in Oslo, Norway between two representatives of the Maduro government and three representatives of the opposition, whose putative leader is phony “President” Juan Guaidó. Multiple international media also confirmed the talks.

This development reflects the reality that opposition efforts to oust Nicolas Maduro have failed miserably, as in the absurd “military uprising” orchestrated on April 30 by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. This was billed as the “final stage” of Guaidó’s Operation Freedom to overthrow Maduro, and when it flopped, it not only revealed divisions within the opposition, but angered President Donald Trump who made known his displeasure with Bolton’s antics.

Given the tenor of recent U.S.-Russian diplomatic meetings, it’s not out of the question that the two governments played a role in encouraging the talks. Recall that after his May 3, ninety-minute phone call with President Vladimir Putin, Trump reported that Putin wants “to do something positive in Venezuela, and so do I.” According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov’s May 5 meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza stressed “the importance of international assistance to foster an inclusive Venezuelan dialogue between responsible and constructive forces.” The next day, after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Finland, Lavrov told a reporter who asked whether Pompeo had given him an ultimatum about “getting out of Venezuela,” that, “We tried not to focus on public statements considering that they are influenced by too many things that have nothing to do with real politics. We tried to concentrate on real politics and we succeeded in this.”

Later he responded to CNN:

“I don’t see any advocates of a reckless military solution based on my contacts with U.S., European and Latin American colleagues. I hope that this understanding shared by all will be translated into practical policy and that there will be no military solution because it would be disastrous.”

Question: “Do U.S. diplomats understand this?”

Lavrov: “Yes.”

What may come out of the Oslo talks is far from clear. What is known is that opposition leader Leopoldo López, from whom Guaidó takes orders, supports them. The only thing Maduro has said publicly is that his Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez, who is in Oslo, is on an “important overseas mission.” Late today, the Washington Post quoted Guaidó telling his supporters he understood “the natural doubts that surge among you because of past frustrations with failed mechanisms”—i.e., negotiations. “Let’s not confuse the objective with the mechanisms. We have said we will try all options.” He further said that negotiations “that don’t lead to the end of usurpation, a transitional government and free elections” are unacceptable, but he may not be calling the shots.

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