By Misión Verdad – Jun 9, 2023
The National Primary Commission of the Venezuelan opposition parties, headed by Jesús María Casal, announced on June 2 that it will ask the National Electoral Council (CNE) for technical assistance for the organization of the opposition’s primary elections scheduled for October 22, 2023. In response, pre-candidate for the Vente Venezuela party, María Corina Machado, said the following day that the commission had not explained what the technical assistance means, and added that there is no clarity as to what will be the role of the Venezuelan national electoral body in this internal process of the opposition.
Machado’s party issued a communiqué stating: “The primaries that Venezuelans want are those where all of us, inside and outside the country, elect our candidate and count our votes.”
— Comando María Corina (@PrensaMCM) June 3, 2023
No to CNE?
The following are some of the statements that the self-proclaimed centrist-liberal pre-candidate has issued regarding the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE).
In June 2020, when she flatly rejected the electoral route, she called for a “Peace and Stabilization Operation to reestablish democracy in the country.” In view of the appointment of a new CNE by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), she declared that the fact “was a foregone conclusion” and that there was no other way but the Responsibility to Protect or R2P, which she considered legitimate. As is well known, the Venezuelan National Assembly elected in 2015 was in contempt since 2016 and the TSJ had to assume legislative functions, in which situation she made successive calls for the United States to militarily intervene in Venezuela.
In April 2022 she said, “I want to contest [in elections]. I have told you, I will contest against anyone. But of course without the CNE, because I do not believe in those vagabonds. Without the TSJ, without the Republic Plan [Venezuelan electoral law], without machines, because those little machines are obviously a black box.”
— REDRADIOVE (@RedRadioVe) April 22, 2022
In January of this year, when the opposition was in the process of putting an end to its own “interim government,” Machado published a video disassociating herself from the opposition’s defeat. She again supported primary elections, but with manual voting, and called “to fight” so that the opposition candidate would be elected without the assistance of the CNE.
“The Dantesque spectacles that are coming from all sides, although they disgust us, cannot paralyze us,” she said. “It has become clear that in order to defeat the regime, we first have to displace that opposition, and the new leadership cannot be elected either by the criminals of the regime or by their accomplices.”
In March, she said that she would not participate in a “show” primary which does not include the foreign votes, and much less in a primary in which the CNE is involved. She also said that manual voting would serve as a standard, even though all over the world there is a tendency to automate the electoral processes and guarantee the greatest possible transparency.
“If the National Primary Commission gives in and yields to the CNE, they would not be excluding me as a candidate, but the people,” she said in April, insisting on the importance of turning the opposition primary election into a “real threat” to the national government. Machado assumes that the primaries have become “a concern for the regime” and “that is why they are trying to use one of their tentacles to prevent the elections from taking place: the CNE.”
“We have to save the primaries from the fingerprint scanners,” she said in May at an event in Yaracuy, and insisted that “the regime” is trying to be the arbiter of the opposition’s internal electoral process. Machado, who was formerly the director of the NGO Súmate, stated that the “civil society” has the capacity to get organized and carry out the elections. She also attacked those of the opposition who want to count on the support of the CNE, saying: “There are some who are afraid of the people, they like Jorge Rodríguez [PSUV leader and president of the National Assembly] to count the votes.”
— Reporte Ya (@ReporteYa) May 11, 2023
The question remains as to whether Machado was talking about the same civil society that made a mess of the executive board elections of the Central University of Venezuela in May.
Machado claimed that “the sanctions are a negotiation tool” at a forum organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a US think tank. She also declared that the opposition would legitimize her leadership in the primaries that will be held in October. However, an uncomfortable question remains regarding her participation in the electoral event, in which the CNE will provide technical and logistical assistance, and its equipment must be guarded by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB). Will Machado go to the primaries with the CNE to exercise the “legitimate leadership” of the opposition? If so, it remains to be seen what would be her damage control mechanism when it comes to contradict all the statements that she has made during the two decades of her war against the national electoral authority.
Another question that arises from her speech is whether she will accept that, as long as the unilateral coercive measures remain, the electoral process of 2024 will be impacted by the effects that they generate in the economy and in the daily life of the voters whom she would have to try to convince.
It also remains to be seen whether she would change her extremist discourse in the case she wins the primaries, whether she would join the national dialogue, given that, according to her own words, she would facilitate the presence of the “Venezuelan people” in the negotiations.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Misión Verdad is a Venezuelan investigative journalism website with a socialist perspective in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution
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