UPDATES WITH REMARKS FROM UNHCR; CHANGES BYLINE
By Vakkas Dogantekin and Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - The Venezuelan government and opposition will meet this week in the Caribbean country of Barbados, in yet another effort to resolve the ongoing political crisis in the oil-rich country after the failed Oslo meetings.
"The Venezuelan people, our allies and the world’s democracies recognize the need for a truly free and transparent electoral process that will allow us to surpass the crisis and build a productive future," opposition leader Juan Guaido’s office said in a statement.
President Nicolas Maduro on Friday welcomed the Norway-mediated talks and reiterated his support for all efforts towards constructive dialogue.
Guaido in January proclaimed himself as the rightful president of Venezuela dismissing President Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud, a move recognized by more than 50 states including the U.S.
However, the Venezuelan state institutions as well as the military has been putting their weight behind the elected leader Maduro.
After facing continuous opposition from the army and people challenging his legitimacy, Guaido and his mostly Western allies in May agreed to participate in initiatives in Oslo.
U.S. has been pushing for a regime change in Venezuela since the country's late President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998 and subsequently won 10 elections.
Born and raised in the barrios of Venezuela in abject poverty, Chavez was seen as a symbol of the popular will and independence from imperial designs in Latin America, representing the underprivileged segments of the society.
He endorsed Maduro before he died of cancer in 2013.
- Latin American countries adopt Venezuela road map
As the government and opposition begin negotiations to discuss country's political unrest, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced on Monday that Latin American and Caribbean countries had adopted a road map to facilitate integration of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.
"The continuing exodus of Venezuelans surpasses and exceeds the capacities and resources of governments in the region. This implies an urgent challenge for the countries hosting them," Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-International Organization for Migration Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, said in a statement.
Stressing that the Quito Process represented "a key space for communication and coordination" among states, Stein underlined the need to continue expanding and strengthening the participation of countries in the process.
In September 2018, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay met in Quito, Ecuador to exchange information and best practices regarding the crisis of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region.
The road map was adopted during the International Technical Meeting of the Quito Process, held in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on July 4-5, according to the statement.
It said government representatives from 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as UN agencies, regional organizations, development banks and representatives of civil society participated in the meeting.
According to data from national immigration authorities and other sources, the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela around the world exceeds 4 million.