For the time being, Planalto remains silent about the decision that prevents the main opponent from taking part in the election; The OAS and Mercosur states have already criticized the move
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) decided to wait before commenting on the veto of María Corina Machado, main opponent of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, in the country's elections. Although it is a decision of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, the PT member hopes that Maduro will reverse the case. Due to the ongoing negotiations for the next election, the government believes it is necessary to be cautious with possible statements at this point in time.
On Friday (January 26, 2024), the TSJ (Supreme Court of Venezuela) banned Corina from holding public office for the next 15 years. The decision will prevent the opposition from taking part in the presidential elections to be held in the second half of 2024, the date of which has not yet been set. She won the opposition primaries in October 2023, running against the current Venezuelan president.
Corina explained that Maduro and “his criminal system” had chosen the worst path: fraudulent elections. “That won’t happen,” he said. Learn how Venezuela's Supreme Court indicted Maduro's opponents in this report.
Lula hopes that Maduro can change the scenario that has emerged in his country. However, the Venezuelan president rules the country autocratically and has great influence over the local judiciary. He has never shown that he really wants to hold free elections in the second half of 2024, when he himself wants to win another term.
The three founding countries of Mercosur (Southern Common Market), with the exception of Brazil, condemned the former MP's ineligibility. These are: Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Ecuador also criticized. For the Brazilian government, the reactions come from rightwing governments that no longer have any relationship with Maduro.
The OAS (Organization of American States) and the renowned international electoral group Idea also expressed their opposition to the veto of the opposition candidate in Venezuela.
For Palácio do Planalto, however, Lula must conserve himself in order to try to bring about a turnaround in a situation that the international community already seems to consider lost. Therefore, he believes that it is not time for Lula to take a stand. He believes it is possible to advance negotiations to normalize the Venezuelan electoral process. Nevertheless, the decision against Corina was viewed as serious.
LULA AND MADURO
Lula is a historic ally of the Venezuelan leader and since his return to the executive branch in 2023, he has worked to rehabilitate Maduro on the international stage.
In May 2023, the Venezuelan was in Brasília and was the only head of state of 12 countries invited to a meeting with the presidents of South American countries to have a bilateral meeting with the PT member outside the event. He was received with the honors of the head of state.
At that time, the Brazilian president declared together with the Venezuelan: “It is in your hands, comrade, to build your narrative and turn this game around so that we can finally win and Venezuela can once again become a sovereign country where only you people can through free choice decide who will rule this country. That's all that needs to be done. And then our opponents will have to apologize for the damage they caused in Venezuela.” View.
Two months later, in July, Lula met with Latin American leaders, with French President Emmanuel Macron and with a European Union Foreign Affairs representative during the Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit with the EU. It was in Brussels (Belgium).
Lula and other Latin American leaders joined Europeans in calling for a fair and transparent electoral process in the country, in accordance with applicable laws and international treaties.
In October 2023, the Brazilian president spoke to Maduro on the phone. The topic: elections in Venezuela in 2024. In addition to negotiations with the USA to end the sanctions then imposed on the country, Lula also requested information on possible agreements between Maduro's government and the opposition. The information was published by Planalto in a note (full PDF 97 kB).
Previously, the Venezuelan President was in Brazil in 2015 to attend the inauguration of former President Dilma Rousseff (PT). In 2019, he was banned from entering the country by former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) he broke off relations with his neighbor. However, on December 30, 2022, Bolsonaro himself revoked the decree that barred members of the Maduro government from entering Brazilian territory.
Since taking office, Lula has resumed diplomatic relations with Venezuela. In January, the government reopened the Brazilian embassy in Caracas, Venezuela's capital. Special presidential adviser for international affairs Celso Amorim visited the city in March and met with Maduro and members of the opposition. At the time, he said he saw a “democracypromoting climate.”
Brazil also took part in negotiations to hold elections in Venezuela with the participation of the opposition and the presence of international observers. The trial was also observed by the United States. However, the Americans are reviewing their sanctions policy against Venezuela after the Supreme Court decision.