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eight opposition candidates held the first debate before the primaries

Maria Corina Machado, candidate of the Vente party, Tamara Adrian, candidate of the United for Dignity party, Andres Caleca, candidate of the Movement for Venezuela party, Cesar Perez Vivas, candidate of the Democratic Center party, Carlos Prosperi, candidate of the Democratic Action party, Delsa Solorzano, candidate of the Encuentro Ciudadano party, Freddy Superlano, candidate of the Voluntad Popular party, and Andrés Velásquez, candidate of the La Causa R party, attend a debate, in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 12, 2023.

This Wednesday, eight Venezuelan opposition candidates met to participate in a crucial debate before finalizing which candidate will face Chavismo in the 2024 presidential elections. The debate, which marks the first time that the candidates in the primaries meet, takes place at a tense moment in the country due to the recent announcement by the Comptroller General on the disqualification of María Corina Machado.

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This Wednesday, eight of the thirteen Venezuelan opposition candidates met to participate in a crucial debate in which they presented their proposals in search of the candidacy of the coalition that will face Chavismo in the 2024 presidential elections. the presence of María Corina Machado, Carlos Prósperi, Freddy Superlano, Tamara Adrián, Delsa Solórzano, Andrés Velásquez, César Pérez Vivas and Andrés Caleca.

The Primero Justicia candidate, Henrique Capriles, was notably absent from the debate and expressed his disagreement with the activity, arguing that it could deepen the differences between opponents and would not provide an effective response to the regime’s attempts to block the primaries. In addition to Capriles, there were notable absences and some candidates even claimed not to have been invited.

The debate of the opposition primaries in Venezuela offered a space to discuss proposals and face challenges. During the meeting, political, economic and social issues were discussed, such as plans for a possible government after the 2024 presidential elections. The candidates highlighted the importance of this meeting in the midst of what they consider a “dictatorship”.

The threats faced by the primaries were also highlighted, especially after the disqualification of the former legislator and presidential candidate, María Corina Machado, who was the great surprise in the participation in this debate.

The main themes and proposals at the center of the debate

During the debate, the candidates addressed various issues and challenges. Regarding the institutional challenges, the candidates warned about the government’s attempts to “bust” the primaries through the dissolution of the National Electoral Council and disqualifications.

Maria Corina Machado, candidate of the Vente party, Tamara Adrian, candidate of the United for Dignity party, Andres Caleca, candidate of the Movement for Venezuela party, Cesar Perez Vivas, candidate of the Democratic Center party, Carlos Prosperi, candidate of the Democratic Action party, Delsa Solorzano, candidate of the Encuentro Ciudadano party, Freddy Superlano, candidate of the Voluntad Popular party, and Andrés Velásquez, candidate of the La Causa R party, attend a debate, in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 12, 2023. REUTERS – LEONARDO FERNANDEZ VILORIA

In the field of human rights, several candidates agreed on the need to immediately release political prisoners and to close the “torture centers.”

Regarding the economy, the applicants emphasized the importance of leaving the current economic model to generate investor confidence and stabilize the country. Proposals such as opening up to international markets, privatization, salary and pension increases, and investment in science and technology were mentioned as priorities.

The debate, which took place in Caracas, was not without controversy, as some candidates claimed not to have been invited, such as César Almeida, Gloria Pinho and Luis Farías. These absences and the lack of unity among opponents pose additional challenges on the road to the 2024 presidential election.

María Corina Machado, the great surprise of the Debate

The prominent candidate for the presidential nomination of the Venezuelan opposition in the October primaries was disqualified from holding public office for 15 years, on June 30. This measure is due to her support for the sanctions imposed by the United States on the Government of Nicolás Maduro and her support for Juan Guaidó. Machado leads the polls in the primaries, which seek to select a unity candidate to face Maduro in the 2024 elections.

Venezuelan presidential candidate for the opposition Vente Venezuela party, María Corina Machado, participates in a public debate prior to the country's opposition primaries, at the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), in Caracas, on July 12, 2023. The primaries The opposition parties, to be held on October 22, will determine who challenges Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in next year's elections.
Venezuelan presidential candidate for the opposition Vente Venezuela party, María Corina Machado, participates in a public debate prior to the country’s opposition primaries, at the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), in Caracas, on July 12, 2023. The primaries The opposition parties, to be held on October 22, will determine who challenges Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in next year’s elections. AFP – FEDERICO PARRA

The ban imposed on Machado is added to a previous one that prevented him from leaving Venezuela for nine years. In addition, in 2015 she was disqualified for 12 months for failing to include certain benefits on her asset declaration, even though she claims that she never received those benefits. Another primary candidate, Henrique Capriles, was also banned for 15 years in 2017.

The Venezuelan opposition has denounced that these bans are used by the ruling party to hinder political change in the country, which is going through a prolonged economic crisis. Despite the disqualification, Machado will be able to participate in the primaries, since they are carried out without the support of the State. However, he will not be able to register his candidacy with the electoral authorities to compete in the presidential elections.

The disqualification of Machado generates controversy and has been criticized by his followers, who consider that this measure demonstrates the weakness of the Maduro government and strengthens the determination of the opposition.

The growing international concern

The Government of Venezuela rejected in June the position of the United States regarding the upcoming elections in the country, describing it as “interference.” This comes a day after the United States criticized Venezuela’s decision to disqualify an opposition candidate.

The US State Department claimed that Venezuelans should be able to act freely in the 2024 presidential elections and that Machado’s disqualification “deprived” them of their political rights. The Organization of American States (OAS)based in Washington, also rejected the decision to disqualify Machado and called for free and transparent elections.


Added to these criticisms was the European Commission, which expressed its rejection of the disqualification of politicians in Venezuela during a debate in the European Parliament on the recent decision to prevent opposition member María Corina Machado from holding public office for 15 years.

In the debate, the MEPs expressed their rejection of the disqualification of Machado and called for fair and free elections in the country, they also stressed the need to resume dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition.

The political situation in Venezuela continues to be complex, with challenges such as electoral apathy and the need to carry out the primaries without state support, after the resignation of members of the electoral council.

With information from EFE, Reuters and local media



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