CARACAS – The leader of the Venezuelan opposition Juan Guaido announced on Sunday that he was abandoning the dialogue with the regime that was being mediated by Norway and held in Barbados after the South American country’s embattled incumbent Nicolas Maduro withdrew from the talks more than 40 days ago.
The speaker of the Venezuelan National Assembly, who has been recognized as the nation’s interim president by over 50 countries, accused the Maduro regime of acting in bad faith during the negotiations in a bid to dodge additional sanctions.
“The dictatorial Maduro regime abandoned the negotiation process with false excuses. After more than 40 days in which they have refused to continue, we confirm that the Barbados mechanism is finished,” Guaido said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“The proposed solution that we presented with open-handedness and awareness of the moment the nation is living through was left in the hands of the mediators of the Kingdom of Norway and the usurper’s representatives,” the statement added.
On Saturday, Guaido had called on his followers to ratchet up the pressure on Maduro’s regime by taking to the streets.
On Aug. 7, Maduro announced his executive was walking away from the Barbados negotiations because Guaido had “praised, promoted and supported” the sanctions imposed by the United States government on Venezuelan companies and high-ranking officials.
In early September, Maduro said he would resume his regime’s participation in the talks only if Guaido walked back his alleged stance on a territorial dispute with neighboring Guyana.
According to Maduro, the opposition leader was willing to “surrender” the oil-rich region of Essequibo – whose sovereignty has long been claimed by Venezuela – to the Guyanese.
The South American nation is witnessing a peak in tensions in its ongoing political crisis that exploded in January, when Maduro was sworn in for another six-year term as chief executive after winning the 2018 presidential elections with 67.8 percent of the vote.
The main opposition parties, as well as dozens of countries around the world, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the election, which they accused of being plagued with anti-democratic irregularities.
A couple of weeks after Maduro’s second inauguration, Guaido swore in as interim president, a move he justified via a new interpretation of several articles of the Venezuelan constitution.