VIOLENT unrest in Venezuela could be easing after opposition figures seemingly agreed to return to electoral tactics in their bid to reverse the Bolivarian revolution.
Over 20 opposition parties have indicated that they will stand in December 10’s elections for regional governors and legislative councils, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said, while President Nicolas Maduro said far-right Popular Will party leader Leopoldo Lopez, who is currently serving a prison sentence under house arrest for his role in 2014’s “guarimba” riots that killed 43 people, has agreed to testify before the Commission for Truth and Justice.
The commission has been established by the recently elected Constituent Assembly in order to investigate the months of violence which have left over 120 people dead in Venezuela.
The assembly’s president Delcy Rodriguez, a former foreign minister, said it would be “a powerful instrument to suffocate violence, hatred and intolerance.”
It would not discriminate between investigating the deaths of opposition or government supporters, she said: “There is no political bias here. There are Venezuelan victims.”
Masked opposition supporters set up barricades yesterday in the El Hatillo district of Caracas in protest at an order for the arrest of its mayor, David Smolansky, who is on the run.
Mr Smolansky, a former leader of Popular Will’s youth wing, is wanted for issuing videos encouraging people to join anti-government riots.
But only a few participated and the unrest in El Hatillo was a shadow of previous opposition uprisings, in which pitched battles have been fought with police and people suspected of being government supporters have been beaten and burned to death.
Ambassadors from 17 countries that had gathered in Lima to denounce the government and the Constituent Assembly admitted as much when summoned for talks by the Foreign Ministry, Mr Arreaza said.
The minister said he had warned them that their Lima declaration was “an affront to Venezuela’s sovereignty” and reminded them that Caracas had never tried to interfere in their countries.
The ambassadors had acknowledged that the situation had become more peaceful since the assembly was elected and that candidates from across the political spectrum were prepared to take part in December’s election, he said.