Spain, Dominican Republic call for urgent dialogue in Venezuela

Spain, Dominican Republic call for urgent dialogue in Venezuela 

Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, during a meeting in Caracas, Venezuela on Nov. 12, 2016. EPA-EFE FILE/CRISTIAN HERNANDEZ

Santo Domingo, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas on Tuesday urged both the Venezuelan government and opposition to begin an urgent dialogue.

In a statement issued after a meeting of the two politicians, and to which EFE had access, both said they were “convinced” that there exists “the opportunity for a process of meetings, mutual understanding and reconciliation.”

In that sense, Rodriguez Zapatero and Vargas invited the government and opposition “to go through a process of negotiation and political accord.”

A process which, they said in the statement, “must be guided by the greatest respect for the principles of democracy, human rights, social commitment and national sovereignty, and developed on the basis of formal negotiations with guarantees of trust and credibility.”

Rodriguez Zapatero is one of the mediators of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) for Venezuela, together with former Dominican President Leonel Fernandez and Panama’s Martin Torrijos.

Since April of this year, Venezuela has been the scene of protests against and in favor of the government.

The protests increased last May when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro established a Constituent Assembly made up exclusively of Chavista members and totally rejected by both the opposition and a large part of the foreign community.

The Constituent Assembly, installed last August, up to now has passed a law punishing “hate crimes” that includes the regulation of social networks, and this week is expected to install commissions that will draw up the new constitution.