WORLD Venezuela's Maduro, opposition sign 'social protection' agreement


Venezuela's Maduro, opposition sign 'social protection' agreement


11:46, November 27, 2022

Motorists and pedestrians make their way on Bolivar Avenue at sunset in Caracas, Venezuela, May 21, 2022. (photo: CFP)

The government of Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition, the Unitary Platform of Venezuela, broke a political stalemate on Saturday with a broad social accord which heralded a potential easing of a grinding economic and political crisis in the country.

The two sides agreed to create a fund managed by the United Nations (UN) to finance health, food and education programs for the poor and to continue talks on presidential elections scheduled for 2024.

The broad terms of the agreement for the UN-managed social fund were announced by the head of a group of Norwegian diplomats guiding the negotiations which were held at a hotel in Mexico City.

"We have identified a set of resources belonging to the Venezuelan state, frozen in the global financial system, to which it is possible to access," said Dag Nylander, an envoy from Norway, which facilitated the negotiations.

The accord does not specify the amount to be released, but Jorge Rodriguez, head of the Maduro government delegation, said the agreement will recover $3 billion of more than $20 billion in blocked money.

Maduro later tweeted that the agreement "opens the way for a new chapter for Venezuela, in order to continue advancing towards Peace and well-being that all Venezuelans yearn for."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the social agreement "an important milestone that has the potential to deliver broader benefits for the people of Venezuela" and expressed the UN's commitment to support the both parties in implementing it, in accordance with relevant UN mandates and authorities.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, a sponsor of the talks, said the accord represents "hope for all of Latin America."

The U.S. government, in response, agreed to allow oil giant Chevron to pump Venezuelan oil.

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