Vatican representatives have been invited to mediate as members of the Venezuelan opposition and government officials agree to talks aimed at ending the ongoing civil unrest.
There have been a reported 39 deaths in the country since civil unrest began in mid-February this year.
The protests began after former Miss Venezuela, Monica Spear, and her British husband, Thomas Berry, were killed in in front of their 5-year-old daughter following a suspected robbery.
This was followed by an attempted rape at the University of the Andes in San Cristobal. A protest in response calling for more student safety and better policing resulted in harsh government crackdowns, bringing more people to the streets to protest on other issues like the lagging economy, high rates of crime, and the chronic shortage of essential items.
President Nicolas Maduro's government agreed yesterday to meet with representatives of the Democratic Unity opposition coalition (MUD) for the first time since the unrest began.
Preliminary talks to arrange later meetings were overseen by foreign ministers from the South American regional bloc, Unasur.
After those talks, Vice President Jorge Arreaza told Reuters: "We spoke frankly, directly and respectfully. There were moments of tension, but we agreed to start a cycle of meetings.
"We are sending a good signal to our country by sitting down to talk, converse and resolve our differences.
"We're not trying to convince the opposition to become 'Chavistas' nor are they trying to convince us to abandon the path of the revolution and socialism."
Issues that are likely to be discussed include crime and the economic situation, which has been dire in recent years. At one point, the country's economy faltered so badly it could not import paper.
The country of Venezuela has made a major step toward restricting the purchase of food to only those who are biometrically registered with the state. The government is saying that this biometric ration card is voluntary, but that is unlikely to be true. The markets in Venezuela are government run.