Venezuela opposition says Vatican-brokered talks 'frozen'

Venezuela's opposition said on Wednesday talks with the government were "frozen" after officials failed to attend meetings, throwing cold water on Vatican-brokered attempts to bridge the country's deep political crisis.

Though the formal talks, which began last month, appeared to have led to the release of a handful of detained activists, hopes for real rapprochement were always slim.

"The government, in an irresponsible manner, froze the dialogue process by not showing up to two technical meetings last night," opposition coalition leader Jesus Torrealba told Reuters.

Opposition activists said authorities backed away after the National Assembly on Tuesday held a heated session in which they slammed Maduro over a drug scandal involving his wife’s nephews, who were recently found guilty on U.S. charges that they tried to carry out a multimillion-dollar drug deal to help their family stay in power.

"The government has not complied with any of its promises. They promised to free political prisoners; there are more than 100 imprisoned. They promised (to open) a humanitarian channel; not a single medicine has come in." said two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, accusing authorities of not being committed to talks and using the dialogue as an excuse.