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Maduro copies Ortega's formula to ban opposition candidates

The Venezuelan opposition rejects the disqualification of candidate Maria Corina Machado by Nicolas Maduro’s regime

Ortega en Caracas para participar en la XIV Cumbre de la Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de América (ALBA), en marzo de 2017. Presidencia Venezuela/EFE.

Redacción Confidencial

3 de julio 2023


Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela banned opponent Maria Corina Machado on June 30th from participating in the October primaries, prior to the 2024 presidential elections. Thus, Venezuelan politicians point out that Maduro is duplicating Daniel Ortega’s formula in Nicaragua to destroy the political opposition.

The Venezuelan Comptroller Office confirmed Machado’s disqualification to run for elective office for 15 years. After an alleged asset investigation, the institution concluded that there were errors and omissions in the sworn statements of patrimony, evaluated within the framework of the patrimonial audit of Machado.

Venezuelan opposition politician Juan Guaido, recognized as interim president of Venezuela by fifty countries from 2019 to 2022, asked the world not to look “the other way” when Maduro follows “the path of Nicaragua” with the disqualification of Machado.

“There has to be direct consequences. What is Lula (Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio da Silva) going to say now, who once again yesterday was joyfully insulting me?”, the former interim president highlighted in a video shared on Instagram.

Guaido said that the measure taken against Machado and the attacks against Henrique Capriles and other opponents clearly show that “the dictator is still clinging to power, persecuting and disqualifying candidates of the democratic alternative.”

“The world must not look the other way. It is necessary to move forward with determination so that Venezuela can recover its democracy,” he said.

In the video he stresses that to “face the dictatorship completely” is what is needed now. “It won’t be easy,” but he considers that if democratic forces unify and the international community “faces up to the situation,” it is possible to defeat Maduro.

A scenario similar to the Nicaragua of 2021

Guaido believes what Maduro is doing with Maria Corina Machado is the same thing he did in the 2018 elections and the same thing the Nicaraguan dictator, Daniel Ortega, did in 2021.

Before the general elections in Nicaragua, the Supreme Electoral Council —controlled by Ortega’s ruling Sandinista Front— canceled the legal status of the Restauracion Democratica (PRD—Democratic Restoration) and Citizens for Freedom (CxL) parties, which were considered the electoral vehicles of the political opposition.

In Nicaragua, the presidential hopefuls Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, Arturo Cruz Sequeira, Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Miguel Mora, Medardo Mairena and Noel Vidaure were also disqualified and subsequently imprisoned. So, the dictator was finally reelected without political competition.

For that reason, Guaido urged all Venezuelans living abroad to do their bit and register to vote in the electoral primaries, for which the deadline is July 7.

The Venezuelan primaries are scheduled for next October 22.

Machado labels her political disqualification as “futile”

Maria Corina Machado, at the moment of her inscription as a candidate to the primaries that will be held on October 22nd, in Caracas, Venezuela. Photo: EFE.

Machado, meanwhile, labeled as “futile” the political disqualification for 15 years imposed on her, made known this Friday.

“It is a futile disqualification that only shows that the regime knows it is already defeated. Now, we will vote more forcefully, with more rebelliousness and enthusiasm in the primaries. Here, the one who enables is the people of Venezuela. All the way means all the way,” wrote Machado on Twitter after learning of the information.

According to a document released by the Comptroller’s Office, there are funds administered that need to be accounted for, which represent close to 50% of funds managed in the evaluated period, consisting of deposits and credit notes of unknown origin in national banks (…) and operations of deposits and credit notes of unknown origin in foreign currency.”

In addition, it points out that Machado participated in the “corruption plot orchestrated” by former opposition deputy Juan Guaido, who propitiated a “criminal blockade” of Venezuela, as well as the “shameless plundering” of the nation’s companies and wealth abroad, with the “complicity of corrupt governments.”

The Comptroller’s Office did not specify when this political disqualification began to count since in 2015 the institution applied this measure for one year, with the argument that Machado did not include “concepts” of an employment nature in her sworn statement of assets, which prevented her at that time from running for the position of deputy of the Parliament.

Capriles calls the disqualification “unconstitutional”

The Venezuelan opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, called the political disqualification against Machado “unconstitutional” and assured that Maduro is following “the worst path” for Venezuela.

“The disqualification for 15 years of Maria Corina Machado, by the Comptroller’s Office is an unconstitutional, groundless, and shameful action. I categorically reject this new example of the antidemocratic course of (Nicolas) Maduro and his regime,” stated the also candidate to the opposition primaries on his Twitter account.

“Maduro and the institutions under his control continue on the worst path of designing an election that will only bring more economic, social and political crisis,” added Capriles, who asked the opposition to resist and not to relinquish their right to vote.

“If they disqualify us, we should work even more to take our people to the polls. United, we demand the end of disqualifications and respect for the rule of law,” he said.

OAS condemns the disqualification

The Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the disqualification of the Venezuelan opposition leader. It stated that “such decision is arbitrary and contrary to the rule of law. It violates elementary political and civil rights, including those stipulated in article 23 of the American Convention on Human Rights regarding the right to elect and be elected.”

The OAS also denounced that the Maduro government uses political disqualifications to “cling to power” while a deep humanitarian and economic crisis continues in the country.”

In addition, it called for “fair, free, and transparent” elections to be held next year.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.