Venezuela’s Maduro Calls for Dialogue and Peace after Municipal Elections

President Maduro called on candidates on both sides who are elected on 8 December to participate in a “social, economic, and political national dialogue for the future of Venezuela” the day after the elections. His call comes amid some political violence.

“To all the mayors who are legitimately elected, in peace, across Venezuela, I call on you to a great national dialogue, about topics that affect the people, about the environmental, rubbish, and security systems…so that Venezuela continues in a state of consolidated peace,” Maduro said yesterday at an inauguration in Miranda state.

Maduro’s call comes amid accusations of violence or the intention to commit violence by both political sides.

Minister for internal affairs, Miguel Rodriguez, accused opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez of planning a “wave of violence that will submerge Venezuela in chaos and will end with the overthrowing of President Nicolas Maduro” for after the elections. He said Lopez would ignore orders from the opposition coalition the MUD and opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Rodriguez, speaking on public television station VTV, alleged that Lopez, leader of the rightwing party Voluntad Popular, had confirmed his plans during a conversation with various people, including Alejandro Plaz, the founder of Sumate.  Sumate fronts as an electoral watchdog, but was founded by opposition legislator Maria Corina Machado and has received money from USAID.

Lopez and Machado however are seen to represent a far right wing section of the opposition. Lopez participated in the 2002 short-lived coup. Rodriguez said that Lopez is “outside reality…and we will be monitoring him constantly”

Yesterday Lopez Tweeted “The next step after 8D [8 December elections] will be to remove this bad government from Miraflores [the presidential palace] via constitutional means”. He hasn’t responded yet to Rodriguez’s accusations.

There was violence over the weekend in the Andean state of Tachira, at a registration stall for medium and small businesses.

The opposition had called a regional march, which at the last minute changed its route to go past the stall. Some members of the march knocked over the tent and chairs, threw homemade explosives, stole PDVSA computers, and attacked legislator Ricardo Sanguino.  Tachira governor Jose Vielma accused opposition leaders of provoking the violence. The opposition had called marches around the country, and while the others were peaceful, they had a small turnout.

Meanwhile, Capriles yesterday alleged that people on motorbikes had tried to set his truck on fire while he was in Aragua state. The truck contained the speakers for a public rally in Aragua state. Capriles immediately announced the fire on Twitter and called on his supporters to vote on 8 December.

At around the same time that Maduro made his call yesterday, Organisation of American States (OAS) head José Insulza told press that he was concerned by the “environment of confrontation that is reigning in Venezuelan society” and also called for “positive dialogue”. 

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