MEXICO CITY/CARACAS (Reuters) - Mexico and Uruguay said on Thursday that negotiations were the only acceptable way to achieve a peaceful solution to the deepening political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, as they welcomed the release from jail of a top opposition figure.
In a joint statement both countries called for the release of all prisoners held in circumstances similar to key opposition figure Edgar Zambrano, vice president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, who was released on Sept. 16.
“The governments of Mexico and Uruguay reiterate, as we have done on Feb. 6 in Montevideo, that dialogue and negotiations are the only acceptable way to achieve a peaceful solution for the situation Venezuela faces,” the statement said.
Zambrano was arrested four months ago on treason charges. He was released following what allies said was strong popular pressure, but authorities said his case remains open.
Venezuela’s opposition said on Sunday a dialogue mediated by Norway to try to resolve the political crisis had ended, six weeks after President Nicolas Maduro suspended his country’s participation.
The government responded on Monday by announcing a deal with smaller opposition parties to resolve the South American country’s deep political divide by reforming the National Electoral Commission, accused of bias in favour of the ruling socialists.
That deal was not backed by allies of opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Maduro did not inform Norway’s foreign ministry, which was mediating a dialogue between his government and Guaido, about a side deal with a smaller sector of the opposition before it was announced earlier this week, a member of Guaido’s negotiating team said on Wednesday.
Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Sharay Angulo in Mexico City and Corina Pons in Caracas; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Stephen Coates