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Gabriel García Márquez.
Sign at Limón Street in opposition stronghold of El Cafetal (Caracas) says: “We came down to protest and didn’t receive support. Sincerely, Students of Limón.”
David Smilde and Hugo Pérez Hernáiz
Dialogues between the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) opposition coalition and the government yielded its first results this week. In the process the MUD seems to be regaining its leadership over the unruly forces of the opposition.
On Tuesday government and opposition representatives agreed to expand the “Truth Commission” to include “recognized national leaders trusted by all” to be selected by mutual agreement. While they have not agreed upon the names nor upon the actual competencies of the commission, Vice President Jorge Arreaza suggested they would have the ability to carry out interviews and form their own conclusions.
There was no agreement however, on an amnesty law for political prisoners. This was not a surprise as the MUD’s proposal called not simply for the release of those arrested over the last two months of conflict but for the release of all political prisoners arrested over the past fifteen years—including people like the Guevara brothers who were arrested for the assassination of Attorney General David Anderson. The two sides did agree to a medical examination of Ivan Simonovis which could lead to his release on humanitarian grounds.
There was also an agreement that the opposition would participate in “pacification plan,” the citizen security initiative the government rolled out in February. Ironically, Henrique Capriles’ willingness to dialogue with the government regarding issues of citizen security in January irked many in the opposition base as it symbolized his and the MUD’s softer line on relations with the government.