Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—Far-right Venezuelan politician María Corina Machado promised that if she cannot run for the 2024 presidential elections, “elections cannot be held in Venezuela.” She claimed that she would stand for “popular sovereignty” and the wish of the Venezuelan people who cast their ballots for her in the opposition primaries on October 2023.
“I received the mandate of almost 3 million Venezuelans who exercised popular sovereignty on October 22,” the national coordinator of Vente Venezuela party declared during a press conference on Monday, January 29. “I represent popular sovereignty. There can be no elections without me and without the millions of Venezuelans who voted that day.”
According to the opposition’s unverified and questionable figures, 2.5 million Venezuelans voted for Machado in the opposition presidential primary held in October 2023. The far-right politician was allowed to participate in that process in spite of having already been disqualified by the Comptroller General of the Republic to hold public office for 15 years.
According to Venezuelan authorities and electoral experts, the opposition’s voter numbers in the primaries were over-estimated, and that no more than 600,000 to 800,000 votes could be processed by the voting mechanism chosen by Machado’s NED-funded NGO Sumate which was in charge of the opposition primaries.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) upheld the disqualification of Machado on Friday, January 19. The Political-Administrative Chamber of the TSJ declared as inadmissible the appeal filed by her, in which she requested that her disqualification be annulled. Thus, Machado cannot run for the presidential elections this year.
US intervention in Venezuela’s internal matters
The spokesperson of the US National Security Council, John Kirby, announced on Monday that the Biden administration gives Venezuela a “deadline” until April of this year to comply with the Barbados Agreements. In this way Kirby clearly violated the Agreement itself, and disregarded that the disqualification announcement fully complies with the provisions of the Agreement.
“We have options at our disposal. I’m not going to advance any of them at this time, but we certainly have options regarding sanctions and those types of things that we can do,” Kirby said at a press conference. “They have until April. They need to make the right decisions and allow members of the opposition to run for public office.”
According to Kirby, in the Barbados Agreement signed by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, “some commitments were made about opposition political parties, about free and fair elections and what all that meant,” reported the Spanish news agency EFE without specifying what part of the Agreement was violated by the Venezuelan government.
This new blackmail from Washington comes because in April the temporary relaxation of several of the criminal sanctions imposed by the US against Venezuelan oil and gas sectors ends.
Opposition analyst comments
Anti-Chavista analyst and CEO of Datánalisis polling firm, Luis Vicente León, wrote on social media on Monday that lifting María Corina Machados political disqualification was never an option. According to León, the question that arises is: “What will the United States do regarding this [TSJ] decision?”
“We do not have a clear answer, but we do have some relevant information to analyze it. The first is that the US [and the entire opposition] knew that this moment would come. There are no surprises,” he said.
In León’s opinion, the US is debating between seeking a new strategy for Venezuela or “rolling back the progress of the negotiation” and “returning to what did not work as a pressure mechanism,” that is, to harshen illegal sanctions.
“Is it about returning to the oil sanctions and throwing everything else overboard, knowing that Maduro can perfectly live with it and is not afraid of it at all, or trying to design different and striking pressures, but without affecting the progress made?” wrote the CEO of Datanalisis.
For León, the opposition will have to look for a substitute candidate who would be endorsed by Machado. Other analysts have expressed in recent days that besides all the fuss, the US government has not drawn a red line on the participation of Machado in the upcoming presidential elections of Venezuela.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff
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