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Mexico to host talks between Venezuela's government and opposition as Caracas battles crippling US economic warfare

MEXICO has agreed to host talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said talks with representatives of pretender Juan Guaido — the unelected former National Assembly leader whose self-appointment as president is recognised by the United States and some of its allies — would be “complex” but it was worth an effort to see if crippling US sanctions could be lifted.

Mr Guaido will be represented by Carlos Vecchio, his envoy to the US government.

Washington’s economic war on Venezuela, involving hundreds of individual sanctions and executive orders as well as illegal seizures of Venezuelan assets abroad, has cost the country an estimated $30 billion (£22bn) a year over the last six years, causing huge economic dislocation and hampering efforts to purchase medicines and other essentials during the Covid pandemic.

At the inauguration of new Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, Peru’s new Foreign Minister Hector Bejar assured Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza that Peru would oppose the US’s “unilateral sanctions and blockades” against Venezuela and Cuba.

Caracas has responded to the economic warfare with a controversial Anti-Blockade Law which it says will encourage an “explosion of productive forces” through “promoting and protecting investments ... and the communal economy” while maintaining overall state direction.

The Higher Council of Economics is establishing working groups with different economic sectors aimed at “building an economy that does not depend on oil income.”

But critics including the Communist Party of Venezuela say the law allows privatisations that move the country away from the legacy of Bolivarian revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez.

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