CARACAS, Sep 12 (Reuters / EP) –
Representatives of the Government and the Venezuelan opposition have discussed months in Caracas of possible exits to the economic crisis, regardless of the dialogue promoted by Norway, as reported by Reuters nine sources close to these contacts.
The Boston Group, created more than a decade ago by Venezuelan and US parliamentarians, has invited in recent weeks an increasingly large group of officials, politicians and economists from both sides to agree on urgent measures to curb economic drift.
Apparently, the meetings intensified following the collapse of the Oslo process. Started in May in Norway and moved shortly thereafter to Barbados, it was shipwrecked in August because the government delegation left the negotiating table in protest of the new US sanctions.
The Boston Group, including its new members, meet at least once a week, many times in a luxury hotel in Caracas, with the 'placet' of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and the self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaidó.
However, the differences persist. Thus, while the officials claim an urgent withdrawal of US sanctions, opponents maintain that no plan will succeed without Maduro's departure.
“A review of the sanctions for their impact is raised there (in the Boston Group),” said a source from the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
“We are trying to hear the different visions,” said an opposition leader who participated in one of the meetings. “It serves to know what they are doing,” said another.
The coordinator of the Boston Group, Pedro Díaz, has refused to comment, but on his website there are two documents published dated September 4 and 5 entitled 'Mesa de Ideas de Economía y Petroleo', one of which adds “new additions “, which cannot be accessed because they are protected with a password.
Some sources have explained that on both sides there is much interest in reviving the oil sector, Venezuela's main source of wealth, which entered into crisis with the international fall in the price of crude oil in the international market in 2014 and which has worsened with sanctions. from the United States.
Two sources have stated that the objective is to write a final document that reflects the points of agreement between officials and opponents, creating a kind of economic plan of consensus, although it is not clear that it will be made public.
Nevertheless, some opposition representatives fear that Maduro is using the Boston Group to harm his political adversaries.
“The Government uses it to support the discourse that there is not a single opposition in the country, but several, and then decides which one should talk to,” said a prominent opponent on condition of anonymity.
In the six years that have elapsed since the death of Hugo Chávez, which unleashed the political crisis, Government and opposition have tried up to four dialogues, including that of Oslo and Barbados, without success.
The opposition denounces that Maduro and his allies have never had a real will to reach agreements, using the negotiating table to gain time.