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In Venezuela, the opposition accuses President Maduro of choosing his rival for the presidential election

Photo: Ariana Cubillos Associated Press Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will seek a new term in the presidential election on July 28.

Patrick Fort – Agence France-Presse and Javier Tovar – Agence France-Presse in Caracas


  • Americas

The opposition coalition in Venezuela was finally able to register a candidate for the July 28 presidential election on Tuesday, but its leader Maria Corina Machado, ineligible, accuses President Nicolas Maduro, who is seeking a third term, of having “chosen” his rivals.

This candidate is Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia, a former ambassador and political scientist. He replaces Corina Yoris, the academic novice in politics whom Ms. Machado had designated but who failed to register, without the National Electoral Council (CNE) giving any explanation.

While the registration limit expired on Monday at midnight, the CNE finally granted a deadline to the opposition and agreed to register Mr. Gonzalez Urrutia.

Analysts and the opposition, however, believe that Mr. Gonzalez could be replaced by another candidate — Ms. Machado, Ms. Yoris or another — in the future if negotiations between power and opposition were successful.

Ms. Machado, 56, had won the opposition primary handily and seemed to be able to rally an often divided opposition behind her. She was declared ineligible in mid-March — accused by the government of corruption and of supporting a foreign invasion — which she has always denied.

“What we denounced for many months has finally happened: the regime has chosen its candidates,” she said on Tuesday.

Many observers and opponents believe that the CNE, often accused of being at the behest of those in power, deliberately blocked the candidacy of Corina Yoris, 80 years old.

Brazil and Colombia expressed their “concern” on Tuesday, while Uruguayan Foreign Minister Omar Paganini said Venezuela was “consolidating itself as a dictatorship”. The White House said it was “very concerned” about the blocking of Ms. Yoris’ candidacy.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry responded by accusing Brazil and Colombia of interference.

The spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the international community to “continue to engage with the parties in favor of a negotiated road map”, and declared: “we regret any development that could 'hinder electoral guarantees and recall the need to guarantee the right to vote and to be elected'.

Tuesday, before Gonzalez Urrutia registered, Ms. Machado insisted: “My candidate is Corina Yoris. No one is going to take us off the electoral road. We will fight to the end.”

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“Worst scenario”

She had also distanced herself from the last-minute candidacy of Manuel Rosales, 71, a veteran politician, already a candidate against Hugo Chavez in 2006.

This heavyweight was, however, far from unanimously supported by the opposition, who criticize him for his regular contacts with Mr. Maduro since he became governor again in 2021.

On the power side, everything is simple with a clear candidate: Nicolas Maduro, 61, who succeeded his mentor Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) upon his death in 2013. The whole machine of 'State and Chavism is already on the move.

More than 60 countries, including the United States, did not recognize his re-election in 2018, boycotted by the opposition. This non-recognition led to economic sanctions targeting the oil sector in particular.

The government should take advantage of the confusion and divisions of the opposition before the single-round vote.

Nicolas Maduro went further on Tuesday evening by describing Ms. Machado's party as “terrorist”. “They are pursuing me to try to make an attempt on my life, as was demonstrated yesterday with the capture of individuals from the terrorist movement “Vente Venezuela” (Go Venezuela Editor’s note), […] or rather “Vente Terrorista” (Go Venezuela). terrorism Editor’s note),” declared Mr. Maduro on television.

Two armed men were arrested after infiltrating the procession with the aim of assassinating it, he announced earlier, saying the men were linked to Ms. Machado's party. Prosecutors said they would be charged with terrorism and attempted assassination, with the opposition calling the accusation “unfounded.”

For political scientist Yoel Lugo, “the worst scenario for the opposition is to maintain the tone of internal tension which, with division and demoralization, is the perfect equation for the demobilization of the opposition. This is precisely the strategy that allows Nicolas Maduro to stay in power.”

The Argentine presidency said Tuesday that Venezuelan opposition leaders facing “acts of harassment and persecution” had found refuge in the residence of the Argentine ambassador in Caracas , without revealing their identities.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116