The 4 Phases of the Montevideo Mechanism to Negotiate an Exit in Venezuela

Uruguay and Mexico, plus the Caribbean Community, are promoting an initiative to achieve “an integral, comprehensive and lasting solution”.


Venezuelans need a solution. The years of wear and tear have led to disappointment, then anger and, now, despair. Whether you are an opponent of the Chavez government or a supporter of President Nicolás Maduro, you deserve answers. That is the basis of the so-called Montevideo Mechanism, promoted by two neutral countries like Uruguay and Mexico, which tries to negotiate a peaceful and democratic way out of the country.

The self-proclamation, on January 23, of the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as president “in charge” of Venezuela, with the immediate trickle of acknowledgments and rejections by world diplomacy, has led to the launch of this proposal , with the support of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), whose goal is “an integral, comprehensive and lasting solution”.

The plan consists of four phases:

"Immediate Dialogue", "Negotiation", "Commitments" and "Implementation". But what do you intend to do in each of them?

As they explained after the first meeting they held yesterday in Montevideo, the first one should serve to generate conditions for direct contact between the actors involved, “under the protection of a security environment.”

Once this is done, it will be time to negotiate. It touches the “strategic presentation of the results of the dialogue phase to the counterparts”, in which common points and areas of opportunity for the “flexibilization of positions and identification of potential agreements” will be sought.

Third phase: the commitments. Based on the results of the negotiation phase, agreements are concluded and signed, “with previously established characteristics and temporality”. It is the first time that we talk about deadlines.

Finally, in the implementation period, it will be time to apply the agreement, the “materialization of the commitments assumed”, with international support.

The proposal has found an unequal reception between the opposing parties. Maduro and the ruling party embrace him for the moment. “I ratify all the support for the four phases plan (…), I announce the absolute support of the Government of Venezuela to all steps and initiatives for dialogue,” said the president when the initiative was proposed. “We are ready to participate in an open agenda of understanding for Peace,” he added on Twitter.

Guaidó does not see it so clear. It reiterates that it will only participate in political dialogues if the exit of the Presidency of Maduro is materialized. “Let it be clear that we are not going to participate in any element that does not concretely take” the “cease of usurpation” of Maduro, the transitional government and free elections, he said. The opposition has defended in these three weeks that we must take three steps in Venezuela: work for the end of the “usurpation”, implement a transitional government with him in the presidency, and call for free and transparent elections. That is why he says no to the efforts of these American countries.

“The Venezuelan democratic forces have already participated in efforts of dialogue, negotiation and agreement on several occasions with the Nicolás Maduro regime, we have done it inside and outside of Venezuela, privately, and also publicly (…) The consequence invariably in all these processes it has been the same: the increase of authoritarianism of the regime and of repression “, has abounded, in an interview with the Uruguayan newspaper El País.

Another parallel initiative

The Montevideo Mechanism should not be confused with the International Contact Group on Venezuela, which also met yesterday, for the first time and for more than five hours, in Uruguay. After the meeting, a statement was issued that was signed by the European Union (EU), Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Holland, Sweden, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

One important difference, for example, is that Mexico is missing, one of the drivers of the four-phase plan. “By constitutional mandate” can not support “the political interference in other countries,” said his foreign minister at the end of the day, which he attended to talk to his colleagues about his own initiative. Another one: there are nations that have announced that they do adhere to the Group, but they preferred not to put their rubric in the initial declaration, such as Bolivia.

These diplomats have agreed to send a technical mission to Caracas and to meet again in March to work on a process that will lead to a “Venezuelan solution” to their own conflict. They have diagnosed the (evident) “severity of the current crisis in Venezuela and its impact on the region” and the “difficult situation of its people” and therefore propose to take an international move.

The Contact Group undertook to continue working to “establish the necessary guarantees for a credible electoral process in the shortest time possible” and to “allow the urgent delivery of assistance in accordance with international humanitarian aid principles.”