On September 16, Nicolás Maduro’s administration announced that a number of agreements had been signed with members of the opposition not allied with the National Assembly (AN) president Juan Guaidó, with the aim of solving the political and economic crisis affecting Venezuela since 2017. One of the most important points agreed upon is the return of the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) to the AN. As a result of the agreement, the PSUV is expected to resume its activities at the NA in the next few days. In addition, a working group will be set up to guarantee compliance with the agreements reached. Among the institutional issues to be addressed by the working group are the functioning of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), the suspension of the contempt of the NA, and the preservation of the balance of powers.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodriguez, and the Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodriguez. Opposition deputies Timoteo Zambrano (Cambiemos), Claudio Fermín (Soluciones por Venezuela) and Felipe Mujica (Movimiento al Socialismo) were also present. These legislators are not members of the same opposition parliamentary group as Juan Guaidó, who is the current president of the National Assembly and self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela.
The agreements signed between the Executive branch and the opposition deputies are:
- The return of the parliamentary coalition of the PSUV and its allies to the NA. The PSUV withdrew from participating in the institution’s sessions in 2016 when the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) declared the NA in contempt.
- The negotiation of new members to stand on the National Electoral Council (CNE).
- The creation of a working group to analyze institutional issues such as the workings of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), overturning the ruling of contempt against the NA and preserving the balance of powers.
- Re-opening the SCJ cases of people deemed to have been illegitimately detained.
- Compliance with international law in the dispute over the Esequibo territory, land which is currently occupied by Guyana but being claimed by Venezuela.
- Lifting of the imposition of economic sanctions which apparently violate international law, according to the parties..
- Implementation of an oil-for-food programme, similar to the humanitarian mechanism that the United Nations applied to Iraq between 1995 and 2003.
The announcement was made after Juan Guaidó accused the ruling party of abandoning the peace dialogue under way in Barbados, with the backing of Norway. Guaidó said that Maduro’s administration rejected a proposal to create a Transitional Government Council, composed of the entire number of the country’s political and Armed Forces. The Council would take office once both Maduro and Guaidó had resigned.