Reuters: As crisis escalates, Venezuela's Maduro meets opposition
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sat down on Sunday with members of the opposition and foreign mediators, a gesture his foes suspect is a time-wasting tactic to ease pressure on the unpopular socialist leader.
The opposition Democratic Unity coalition has stepped up protests since authorities scuttled its push for a referendum this year on Maduro's rule, which opinion polls showed he would have lost, triggering a presidential election.
Critics say 17 years of socialist rule have wrecked the OPEC nation's economy and crushed democracy, while the government says a U.S.-backed elite is seeking a coup.
Maduro, 53, who narrowly won election to succeed Hugo Chavez in 2013, arrived mid-evening for the meeting at a Caracas museum and greeted opposition leaders including coalition secretary-general Jesus Torrealba and opposition governor Henri Falcon.
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WNU Editor: After threatening opposition leaders with jail, I doubt that these talks are going to lead to anywhere .... Venezuelan president threatens to jail opponents (AFP).
More News On The Political Crisis In Venezuela
Maduro Kicks Off Vatican-Led Talks With Venezuela Opposition -- AP
Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro to meet with opposition, foreign mediators -- Washington Post
Venezuela’s crisis comes to a head in the streets -- Financial Times
President Maduro threatens to jail legislators ahead of 'political trial' -- FOX News
Venezuela: In the Grip of a Political Stalemate: Analysis -- Stratfor
Venezuela and the Vatican: Why some are sceptical about the pope’s chance of bringing social peace to Venezuela -- The Economist
How Much Longer Can Venezuela Go on Like This? -- Siddhartha Mahanta, The Atlantic
Venezuela in Crisis: 5 Reasons Why This Oil-Rich Nation Is on the Brink of Collapse -- Eric Ortiz, NBC