Venezuela: Why is Maduro so Afraid of María Corina Machado?

The opposition in Venezuela has a moment of unity. This is due to the disqualification of Machado and the complicated relations in Mercosur.

Maria Corina Machado

Photo: Gabo Bracho

LatinAmerican Post | Carolina Torres

Escucha este artículo

Leer en español: Venezuela: ¿Por qué le teme tanto Maduro a María Corina Machado?

The situation between the current Venezuelan government and the opposition is tense after disqualifying one of the presidential pre-candidates. María Corina Machado’s popularity was rising thanks to her strong work as part of the opposition. As shown by a poll conducted by Datincorp for February this year, the potential candidate is leading the opposition with a voting intention of 25%. These results can be contrasted with the 57% of voting intention she currently has for the primary elections, according to a study by Poder y Estrategia.

Machado was disqualified for 15 years from holding any public office, the Venezuelan Comptroller General’s Office said in a letter sent to Deputy José Brito. This decision is based on María Corina’s possible support for Guaidó’s interim presidency and other actions against the Maduro government.

The ban on Machado dates back to 2015 but was initially only for 12 months for failing to include relevant information in her asset declaration. This sanction was extended to 15 years, possibly affecting Venezuela’s presidential elections.

You can read: Venezuelan Opposition: Between Henrique Capriles and María Corina Machado

What does it Mean for Venezuela that Machado Cannot be Elected?

The strength of the former deputy in Venezuela has been eroded for years by the strong opposition and leading demonstrations against the government. This has grown thanks to her discourse expressing that she does not want negotiations with Maduro. Her proposals are opposed to those implemented by the current government.

For the primary elections, Machado’s voting intentions and the support shown by opponents make her one of the most likely candidates for the primaries. Still, more is needed to guarantee her success. In Venezuela, opinions change quickly, and the popularity of any candidate can plummet after a wrong communication decision.

Disqualifying Machado unleashed strong criticism of Maduro’s government, which may strengthen voter support for the leader of Vente Venezuela. She invited via Twitter to “vote with more strength, rage, and desire in the primaries.”

For Machado, as for other Latin American pre-candidates and presidents, this decision demonstrates inconsistencies in the government. An act that, for them, seems to be a sign of “a defeated regime,” as María Corina expressed on her Twitter account.

This situation with Machado was used by the leader to highlight the problems affecting Venezuelans and to recall that Venezuela “has open investigations for crimes against humanity.”

The decision taken, far from appeasing the opposition, achieved a momentary unity among the pre-candidates supporting Machado. For example, Capriles describes it as “an unconstitutional, unfounded and shameful action” and shows an undemocratic course in which Venezuelans are left without any choice, which “will only bring more economic, social and political crisis,” according to the candidate.

Julio Borges disagreed, saying, “The Maduro regime continues to appeal to the disqualifications of political leaders to undermine the struggle of the Venezuelan people.” This could lead to several candidates joining forces against the current government.

What is the Opinion of Other Presidents on the Machado Case in Venezuela?

Although the disqualifications imposed on several opposition candidates do not prevent them from being candidates in the primary elections, they may make it difficult to register with the National Electoral Council in the future.

This series of decisions under the government of Nicolás Maduro generated strong criticism and conflicting positions. At the moment, there is no talk of any real sanctions against the Venezuelan government, but organizations such as the UN are calling for guaranteeing civic rights in the country.

Machado’s disqualification generated a complicated atmosphere in Mercosur and a possible unbridgeable political gap concerning the situation in Venezuela. Some leaders are open to dialogue with Venezuela to find solutions, while others call for condemnation of this practice.

This clash of opinions generated a division in Mercosur that once again brought to the surface the differences regarding the prevailing political environment in Venezuela. For Fernández and Lula, it is clear that the problem is only a matter for Venezuelans. For these leaders, the best response to Machado’s situation is dialogue at the table in Mexico, where the Venezuelan government and the opposition must resolve their conflicts.

For the presidents of Uruguay and Paraguay, it is clear that Mercosur must condemn Venezuela’s anti-democratic behavior. Mario Abdo Benítez, President of Paraguay, and Luis Lacalle Pou, President of Uruguay, were very emphatic on the Machado issue in their opening speech at the Summit.

Lacalle Pou mentioned in his speech that “Mercosur has to give a clear signal so that the Venezuelan people can move towards a full democracy, which they do not have today” and expressed his support for Abdo’s speech in which, among other things, he mentioned that “when a way out, a path of hope for the holding of elections with the opposition was emerging, we quickly saw that illusion extinguished with the disqualification of María Corina Machado.”

It is clear that for the presidents of both countries, disqualifying a healthy option like Machado is a precise blow to democracy in Venezuela. Support for the candidate was not extended in coming, and they were very emphatic about this matter’s unconstitutional and anti-democratic nature, in addition to hinting that Lula da Silva is showing support for the Venezuelan president thanks to the rapprochement he has had with him and the fact that he shares some political ideas.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button