Venezuela talks hang by thread as presidential vote looms

From the Washington PostSANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Negotiations between Venezuela’s government and opposition were hanging by a thread after they failed to reach an agreement on a formula for upcoming presidential elections.

Talks aimed at resolving Venezuela’s grinding political and economic crisis have been taking place for weeks, and hope for a breakthrough was running high when they resumed Tuesday in the Dominican Republic.

But the opposition’s delegation head Julio Borges said after talks concluded without a deal that he won’t sign any agreement that puts Venezuela’s democracy at risk. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.