Venezuela’s Primary Election and the Urgent Need for Change


Protest in Venezuela

Photo: EFE/ Miguel Gutierrez/ ARCHIVE

The Latin American Post Staff

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Leer en español: Las elecciones primarias de Venezuela y la urgente necesidad de cambio

Venezuela's primary presents an opportunity for the opposition to articulate their vision for the future and engage with an electorate desperately seeking change.


Once considered one of the wealthiest in South America, Venezuela has been mired in a deep and enduring crisis that shows no sign of abating. In the face of economic collapse, political turmoil, and widespread suffering, the people of Venezuela have borne the brunt of a dire situation that demands immediate attention and a radical shift in leadership.

The upcoming primary election in Venezuela's opposition is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, marking the first such event in over a decade. Though marred by the disqualification of a prominent front-runner, Maria Corina Machado, this primary is a crucial step towards the country's return to democratic stability.

A Platform for Change and Vision

Why is this primary so significant? First and foremost, it offers a platform for opposition candidates to rally support from a population that has endured years of hardship. Once buoyed by its vast oil reserves, Venezuela's economy has crumbled, leaving citizens struggling to meet their basic needs. The primary presents an opportunity for the opposition to articulate their vision for the future and engage with an electorate desperately seeking change.

For too long, Venezuela has been a political battleground with deep divides and entrenched interests. The United States and other nations have called for democratic concessions as a prerequisite for lifting sanctions on the Maduro government. This primary represents a step in the right direction, a chance for Venezuela to demonstrate its commitment to democratic principles and gain some reprieve from the economic hardships imposed by sanctions.

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One of the most pressing issues in Venezuela is the misuse of public office bans to stifle political opposition. These bans, lasting up to 15 years, have been used to silence voices critical of the government. The case of Maria Corina Machado, a candidate who is expected to win the primary but is currently banned from public office, highlights the lengths the government will go to eliminate opposition. These bans must be reevaluated and lifted, as they undermine the very essence of democracy.

A Test of Venezuela's Commitment to Democracy

The primary outcome, particularly if a disqualified candidate emerges victorious, will be a test of Venezuela's commitment to democratic principles. If Machado, or any other banned candidate, wins, how the government will respond remains to be determined. But what is clear is that the people of Venezuela yearn for change, and a disqualified winner should prompt a reevaluation of the bans and a genuine commitment to democratic inclusivity.

As for the presidential election itself, the date is yet to be specified, but it must take place in the latter half of 2024. A timely and transparent electoral process will testify to Venezuela's commitment to democracy.

In conclusion, despite its challenges, Venezuela's primary election is vital to healing a nation that has suffered for far too long. The international community should closely monitor the developments, advocate for lifting unjust bans, and support the people of Venezuela in their quest for change. The future of this embattled nation hinges on democratic renewal and a break from the tumultuous past.

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