Talks in Venezuela

Via Reuters:  Venezuela’s Maduro meets opposition as death toll from protests rises

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cautioned opposition leaders to keep their expectations modest on Thursday as he hosted them for mediated talks intended to stem two months of deadly political unrest.

Maduro has held similar meetings previously but this was the first to include Henrique Capriles, who Maduro narrowly beat in last year’s presidential election, and the first to be brokered by foreign ministers from the Unasur bloc of South American governments.

The six-hour meeting coincided with violence that raised the death toll from the protests against Maduro’s rule to 41, and Capriles warned the unrest would escalate in the absence of political reforms.

Some basic numbers from the ongoing clashes:

Authorities said on Thursday a policeman was shot dead during a protest in western Barquisimeto city, and opposition activists said a woman died in hospital almost a month after being hit by a car while demonstrating in central Valencia.

Those fatalities brought the death toll to 41.

About 650 people have been injured since the protests broke out in early February, officials say, and more than 2,000 people have been detained. Of them, more than 170 are still behind bars.

Info on the meeting itself via El UniversalData, numbers and particulars of the meeting.

One thing that needs to be understood is that the opposition coalition, the MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática), represents a large number of parties.  The fragmented nature of the opposition will, I would think, complicate negotiations.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Ben Wolf says:

    I’ve wondered about how effective any negotiations could be, as I know relatively little about Venezuelan politics. Just how fragmented is the opposition? Can they cooperate without the current government as a common enemy?

  2. @Ben Wolf: I have seen counts that place the number of parties in the MUD between 30 and 50 (although some of those are local and not national).

    Regardless of the count, my impression is that the main unifying factor is opposition to the regime, but beyond that there are pretty fragmented.