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Maduro Starts Talks With Venezuelan Parties Not Linked to Guaido

Matthew Bristow

(Bloomberg) -- The government of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro is reaching out to smaller political factions after negotiations with the nation’s main opposition coalition broke down.

The government set up a “national dialog” with some opposition representatives, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Monday.

The government and these groups called for an oil-for-food program with United Nations oversight, and agreed that lawmakers from Maduro’s socialist PSUV party will return to the opposition-controlled National Assembly, according to state TV. The other points of agreement include revamping the electoral body and denouncing U.S.-imposed sanctions.

The minority parties that met with the government today include Progressive Vanguard, the Movement for Socialism and Let’s Change. These parties backed opposition candidate Henri Falcon in last year’s presidential election, which he lost to Maduro, according to the electoral authority. Most of the opposition boycotted the vote, saying it was rigged.

After losing control of the assembly more than three years ago, Maduro created a parallel legislative body called the constituent assembly to undermine his opponents.

Talks between Maduro’s negotiators and opposition leader Juan Guaido aimed at ending the nation’s political crisis finished without agreement after four months this weekend. Guaido, who is head of the National Assembly, is recognized by the U.S. and dozens of its allies as Venezuela’s legitimate president due to irregularities surrounding Maduro’s re-election in 2018.

Guaido said Monday that the government ran away from the talks with “cheap excuses”. He’s demanding that Maduro step down and that a transition government organizes new elections.

Venezuela’s political crisis and economic collapse have led millions to flee to neighboring country, amid widespread hunger and shortages.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Bristow in Bogota at mbristow5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Cancel at dcancel@bloomberg.net

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