- Title: Venezuela's Maduro rejects opposition's November 11 deadline on Vatican-led talks
- Date: 3rd November 2016
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION MEMBERS SHAKING HANDS VARIOUS OF GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION MEMBERS HOLDING TALKS
- Embargoed: 18th November 2016 22:33
- Keywords: talks deadline Nicolas Maduro November 11 recall referendum
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00256W7U4J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDIT CONTAINS VIDEO THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rejected on Thursday (November 3) an opposition-set deadline to Vatican-led mediation talks between his government and some opposition leaders.
The opposition has drawn hundreds of thousands into street protests after authorities quashed its drive for a referendum against Maduro last month in the country of 30 million people.
But it suspended street actions out of respect for talks with the government that began at the weekend mediated by a Papal envoy.
However, with one major party dissenting and many supporters fearful Maduro is playing for time, opposition leaders said they would wait until November 11 before possibly quitting talks and returning to street tactics if demands were ignored.
In a speech Thursday, Maduro criticized the timetable and urged patience.
"One cannot try to give the talks, peace, an ultimatum. Nobody can say that if in 10 days the government does not respond to what they want and accept tit, they will go to war. Nobody can accept that. That was not discussed at the table, no," he said.
"Nobody should look for excuses to leave the table. Why did they start creating a schedule? What for? If they leave the table, where will they go? What is the alternative to dialogue? A coup? War? Are they leaving to have a coup? Are they going to war? No, no, no-- be patient," he added.
The 53-year-old socialist leader won election to replace his late mentor Hugo Chavez in 2013, but has seen his popularity plummet to just over 20 percent amid an unprecedented economic crisis in the OPEC member.
Early this year, the opposition organized a recall referendum, which polls show Maduro would lose, but the government postponed it and later quashed it. The next presidential vote is currently set for late 2018.
At the Vatican-mediated talks, the opposition is demanding the revival of the referendum or a moving forward of presidential elections to the first quarter of 2017.
It is also demanding Maduro release what it estimates are around 100 Maduro critics unfairly imprisoned.
The coalition also wants to overturn Supreme Court rulings that have annulled the opposition-led National Assembly and to name a new board to the national election council, which it accuses of favouring Maduro.
There is no indication Maduro will agree to any of the coalition's demands.
During 17 years of socialist rule, the government and opposition have repeatedly held talks when tensions on the street have boiled over. But all of them have quickly degenerated back into the acrimonious insults that characterize modern-day Venezuelan politics.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None