Venezuela And Opposition Reach Deal On Electoral Conditions

Venezuelan President of the National Assembly Jorge Rodriguez, left, shakes hands with Venezuelan opposition delegate Gerardo Blyde Perez in Mexico City, August 13, 2021. Venezuela’s government and opposition will resume their dialogue, mediated by Norway, with talks scheduled for Tuesday, October 17, 2023, in Barbados, Norway’s embassy in Mexico said on October 16, 2023, in a brief statement. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

(AP) — Venezuela’s government and opposition have reached an agreement on new electoral conditions that once signed Tuesday will trigger relief from United States energy sanctions on President Nicolás Maduro’s administration, according to a person familiar with the outline of the deal.

Venezuela’s government agreed to open up the electoral process, including allowing European Union observers and creating a process for lifting bans that have blocked his top opponents from running for president, to level what is widely seen as an unfair playing field, the person said Monday.

If Maduro doesn’t live up to his end of the bargain, the sanctions will be imposed again, according to the person, who insisted on not being quoted by name as a condition to discuss the agreement before it was signed.

Venezuela’s government and opposition were scheduled to resume their Norway-mediated dialogue in Barbados on Tuesday, the Norwegian Embassy in Mexico said.

But it appeared an agreement was already within reach because a signing ceremony was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Mexico hosted multiple rounds of talks in 2021 and 2022.

On Monday evening, Maduro said on Venezuela’s national television that “we are going to move ahead with sanctions or without sanctions. If we manage to get them lifted, great, if they’re kept in place, we move forward and we will overcome.”

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller welcomed the announcement of negotiations in Barbados and said in a statement that the US government would “continue its efforts to unite the international community in support of the Venezuelan-led negotiation process.”