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Latam brief: Venezuela talks start tomorrow (November 25, 2022)

Venezuela’s government will restart talks with a coalition of opposition political parties on Saturday, in Mexico City. The discussions ultimately aim at reaching a political settlement — free and fair elections, the status of hundreds of political prisoners and lifting of U.S. economic sanctions. (Efecto Cocuyo)

The talks will be mediated by Norway, which said the two parties will sign “a partial agreement on social matters.” That deal relates to a $3 billion fund from various frozen Venezuelan accounts, to be managed by the United Nations, for health, infrastructure and education needs, reports the Financial Times.

A U.N. report published earlier this year estimated humanitarian needs at $795 million to help about 5.2 million people through health, education, water and sanitation, food and other projects. (Associated Press)

Efforts to revive the dialogue process, which stalled last year after a close ally of Venezuela’s government was extradited to the United States, comes as the number of Venezuelans attempting to migrated to the United States has soared, notes Reuters.

The announcement comes two weeks after delegates from both parties participated in a round table discussion, promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron, reports the Associated Press. The parties agreed there to sit down again in Mexico, reports Efecto Cocuyo, which gives a rundown on the likely negotiators for each side. (See Nov. 14’s briefs and Nov. 11’s post.)

U.S. oil company Chevron is angling to obtain U.S. approval to expand operations in Venezuela and resume trading its oil, permission that hinges on advances in the dialogue process, reports Reuters. Chevron could win U.S. approval as soon as Saturday.

More Venezuela

  • Venezuela’s effort to curb high inflation by stabilizing exchange rates is becoming less effective as the local bolivar currency slips in value against the dollar, reports Reuters.

  • Stand-up comedy is booming in Venezuela, where young performers are filling the void left by veteran comics who fled Venezuela’s economic crisis, reports Reuters.

Regional Relations

  • Chilean President Gabriel Boric said Latin America cannot remain silent about human rights violations in the region, and specifically referenced political prisoners in Nicaragua. (Deutsche Welle)

  • Boric was speaking before the Mexican Senate, and opponents of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador used the opportunity to denounce his silence regarding Nicaragua. (Deutsche Welle)

  • Both leaders recognized the cost of lack of coordination with regards to the recent IDB election, in which Chile and Mexico failed to agree on a candidate and Brazil’s nominee was selected, reports Aristegui Noticias. (See Monday’s post.)

Chile

  • Boric maintains that Chile needs a new constitution — though voters rejected the draft created by an elected Constitutional Convention earlier this year, the underlying demands that led to the reform effort remain unaddressed, he said. Boric rejected proposals that the new drafting commission should be exclusively by appointment, saying that elected delegates would give the process more democratic legitimacy. (Radio Udec, El Mostrador)

  • Chile’s constitutional debate has been maliciously hijacked since the plebiscite by opponents of reform, wrote Yasna Musa in a recent Post Opinión piece. Voters’ rejection of the proposed draft is not a blank check to skip “a deep discussion on the socioeconomic model or the type of country we imagine. … Making of this historic opportunity just a superficial debate, without questioning the structure that led the country to a deep crisis and that today has it plunged into a kind of paralysis, does nothing more than push the efforts to stay with the same.”

  • The Atacama desert’s unique and fragile ecosystem is being threatened by piles of trash dumped there from around the world, reports AFP.

Haiti

  • U.S. and Canadian sanctions against high-level Haitian politicians are casting light on the country’s long history of patronage between political parties and violent gangs, reports InSight Crime.

Migration

  • InSight Crime breaks down how organized crime groups prey on migrants desperate enough to face death and deprivation in the Darién Gap.

Critter Corner

  • Decades after giant otters disappeared from Argentina, conservationists spotted a lone male, adding hope to reintroduction efforts, reports the Guardian.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing
http://latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot

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