The United Nations Thursday called on the Venezuelan government and opposition forces to make a sincere commitment to dialogue to resolve differences in the country, something President Nicolas Maduro has been advocating long before the right-wing left the Vatican-sponsored talks in January.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the recent events in Venezuela, where Maduro accused the opposition of resorting to violence and destabilization with foreign support.
The diplomat said that the parties must take concrete steps to reduce polarization and tensions and thus avoid further confrontation. The right-wing opposition, however, has called for more street protests over the weekend to culminate in a major event on Monday.
Jorge Rodriguez, government delegate to the dialogues said that the talks between the government and the opposition are essential to progress towards peace. "Venezuela, which aspires to peace, wants a dialogue between the opposition and the Bolivarian Revolution."
Rodriguez stressed that in late 2016 progress was made at the dialogue table but because within the opposition forces profound differences exist, they have been unable to overcome them in order to continue in the process.
The delegate announced that on Wednesday night, former presidents Martin Torrijos and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero were contacted, as well as two opposition leaders, with the firm intention of resuming the process of national dialogue.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in rival marches Wednesday, one in support of the Bolivarian government and the other calling for the ouster of the democratically-elected administration.
On Thursday, Venezuela's Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said three people were killed during the right-wing opposition marches Wednesday. Among those killed was Niumar Jose Sanclemente Barrios, a sergeant with the national guard who was apparently killed by sniper fire during riots in the Caracas suburb of San Antonio de las Altas.
Authorities arrested the man responsible for the shooting death of Paola Ramirez, who was shot in the border state of Tachira. The minister said the alleged killer, Ivan Aleisis Pernia Davila is an active member of the opposition political party Vente Venezuela.
Reverol said they are also investigating the death of 17-year-old Carlos Moreno, who died after being shot in the head near an opposition protest. Family members of the deceased said he was not participating in the demonstrations, but was on his way to play soccer.