Almost two months after the opposition primaries in Venezuela, more than twenty incidents and attacks on the candidates erupted. The crucial process for reunifying the opposition strategy is proceeding with threats and skirmishes in the streets and also from the Chavismo-controlled institutional apparatus. Following the killing of Ecuadorian Fernando Villavicencio, applicants such as Delsa Solórzano in Venezuela said they had received multiple death threats in anonymous and direct messages through social networks. The politician acknowledged that she was making a public statement amid escalating political violence in the region, including Venezuela.
His remarks were picked up by prosecutor Tarek William Saab this week, and Nicolás Maduro also concurred, saying when the officer told him he would open an investigation, he agreed. Although he assured that it was a fake, he offered him protection from the state security forces. “This investigation is being carried out, the truth will come out,” he said Monday night on his show Con Maduro +, broadcast by state channel Venezolana de Televisión. “To me it’s just a montage of malicious people because the threat is in the name of Maduro, Diosdado, the Bolivarian Revolution. We have never used the methods of terrorism, attacks or violence to resolve our political differences.” The candidate’s response to Maduro’s offer revealed the persecution being perpetrated on the opposition in Venezuela. She recalled that both she and other leaders denounced the fact that state intelligence officials follow them in their political activities on a daily basis.
This week, Henrique Capriles Radonski called off a campaign rally in Apure when a group of 50 motorists, some hooded, took the place. According to the candidate, at least ten people were injured and the sound system and chairs that were to be used at the rally were destroyed. This is the seventh attack recorded by the Capriles or members of the team during their campaign tours and attributed to Chavismo groups. “Today we saw the violent, fascist face of whoever is in power. In all of this, there’s no doubt about him that we’re not touring the country any further, that we’re slowing down, crippling ourselves, scaring the structures, scaring the leaders who work in the communities,” Capriles said. A month earlier, María Corina Machado, the leading candidate in the polls and also in the number of attacks, denounced the appearance of graffiti at her party’s headquarters in the border state of Táchira with death threats said to have been signed by the ELN (National) guerrillas be liberation army).
Attacks include brawls and beatings at public gatherings, the closure of hotels and convention halls they have hired to stage their performances, the shutting down of the stations on which they are interviewed, arrests of sound service providers for their activities, and roadblocks by groups or armed shock groups. They even took away Freddy Superlano’s passport when he came back from Colombia a few days ago. That’s how the primaries work, and that’s hardly the preamble, because the official campaign begins on August 22, when candidates will increase their presence on the streets.
The United Platform this Thursday described the threats and attacks to which the candidates were subjected as a “politics of terror”. “This persecution of all candidates is a state policy that reflects the fear and terror they have ahead of the primaries,” said Chairman Simón Calzadilla. But not only physical threats have to be fought until October 22nd. The National Pre-election Commission has said it will allow more than 3,000 voting points, but has not yet revealed where they are located. Logistics and mobilization are one of the biggest challenges for the organizing coalition, which launched a raffle of phones, TVs and other electronic devices to raise money to fund the consultation after the electoral judge refused to help the restructuring process.
The main wolf of the primaries, however, sides with the institutional structure of the state. After the abrupt resignation of its members last June, a new National Electoral Council is likely to be elected in the coming days as a political maneuver to discourage the campaign. Those eligible to vote include incumbent auditor Elvis Amoroso, who disqualified several of the candidates, most recently Machado, but the ruling party is still negotiating the distribution of power in the organization. The Supreme Court could also invalidate the trial, ruling on the basis of a petition from Luis Alejandro Ratti, a businessman linked to the so-called Scorpions – a sector that has split from the opposition and aligned itself with Maduro agreed to survive – who is posing as a candidate for the primaries and went to court to challenge the October consultation. The other spirit is the progression of the elections for this year or early 2024 – although they correspond to the end of next year – which the President showed again this week. “Diosdado says there could be elections this year,” he said at a military rally on Wednesday.
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The government has abandoned the unification speech of a few months ago. Negotiations appear to have stalled two years after they began. Implementation of a social agreement signed in Mexico last November to create a United Nations-administered fund of Venezuelan resources frozen abroad to deal with the country’s humanitarian emergency, which is gradually becoming a forgotten crisis, is ongoing. and without funding. The Maduro government is using this as an excuse not to back down and to stand by its position if sanctions are not lifted, even though the main threat to that money comes from the creditors of the huge debt that the South American country has been insolvent since 2017 .
In recent weeks, Chavista discourses and forms have been exacerbated again by the intervention of the Venezuelan Red Cross, interpreted as an attack on freedom of association in a key organization of humanitarian aid, as well as by the rejection of a possible election observation by the European Union, which the Parliament Speaker Jorge Rodríguez said last month. But a push could finally quash all efforts by the opposition and attempts by the international community to secure greater democratic guarantees – including qualifying all candidates, a repeated demand by the United States and the European Union – to finally face prosecution as a way out the political swamp of Venezuela in the next presidential elections.
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