Whether or not papal intervention in Venezuela could be credited with a sudden diffusing of tensions, the fact is that Venezuela is a lot calmer today than it was a week or a month ago. The embattled regime of President Nicolas Maduro is benefiting from a lull in opposition protests amid concerted calls for the president to step down.
Every since the wee hours of last Monday, when government and opposition groups completed a first round of talks under the mediation of a Vatican envoy and former presidents of Spain, Panama and the Dominican Republic, the high tension that had existed in Venezuela, abated.
Following Monday's talks, Maduro's government released five-opposition detainees from jail as a sign of "goodwill" toward future planned talks with the opposition.
Adding to the gesture from the government, the speaker of the opposition led National Assembly has announced a delay in the symbolic trial of Maduro which was to start on Tuesday. Moreover, the opposition has also postponed a planned November 3rd protest rally upon Maduro's palace. Maduro's trial would have centered on opposition contentions that the president has violated the country's constitution.
With future tension-lowering talks scheduled for November 11, it appears that Venezuela could enjoy some its most peaceful time in recent years over the next several days. However, there are no guarantees to stability. Maduro wants to remain in power and the opposition wants to oust him - a mandate they see as a necessary prerequisite to fixing Venezuela's faltering social, political and economic conditions.