U.S., Columbia Working on Mediation with Venezuela
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has stated that he is working with several countries, including Colombia, to attempt mediation between the opposing political factions in Venezuela. The South American country has been rocked by violence and protests in recent weeks as citizens lash out against poor economic performance and the socialist government once lead by Hugo Chavez has for the first time reacted to such protests with violence and suppression.
At least 17 people have been killed already in clashes between largely student-led protests and the police and military. Although relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have been poor for many years, Kerry asserted the U.S. stands ready to resume more normalized relations with the Venezuelan government. This may prove difficult as a key plank in the ruling party’s platform is that the U.S. is to blame for many of Venezuela’s woes. Thus the attempt to find South American allies such as Colombia to help facilitate mediation.
Venezuela has so far refused to entertain the idea of mediation or any sort of outside interference with its internal politics. It has also repeatedly accused foreign diplomats and business interests of being behind the protests themselves as a way to destabilize the country. It is considered unlikely that any attempt to establish mediation, even by a local neighbor such as Colombia, will meet with success.