Venezuela sets presidential election for July 28 Chavez39s birthday

Venezuela sets presidential election for July 28, Chávez's birthday | World

Lula and Maduro talk about elections in Venezuela

Traditionally, elections in the country take place in December. July 28th is Hugo Chávez's birthday.

Elvis Amoroso, president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), a governmentcontrolled body, announced that the body's board had unanimously approved the election date.

Nicolás Maduro will likely seek reelection.

Reaction in the Brazilian government

In October last year, the Venezuelan government and the opposition agreed on the elections and signed a document called the Barbados Agreement, which sets guidelines for the conduct of the elections. According to the terms, the presidential election should take place in the second half of 2024.

Since the date set by the National Electoral Council is in July, it falls within this period, which pleased members of the Brazilian government, who, however, asked not to be named.

Even if they are relieved with a step forward, the members of the Brazilian government, given the set date, consider that the elections traditionally take place at the end of the year and that the proximity to the elections may entail risks, as it is “too early” because dead ends created by the Maduro government need to be resolved.

In January, months after the Barbados agreement was signed, the Supreme Court, allied with Maduro's government, disqualified Maria Corina Machado, currently the country's main opposition politician.

On this occasion, the Brazilian government published a notice calling for compliance with the agreement: “The agreements that established parameters for the conduct of the presidential elections this year emerged from the dialogue between the government and the opposition mediated by Norway and “found support from Brazil and the USA, among others,” says the text from the Brazilian government.

At the beginning of February, activist Rocío San Miguel, considered a terrorist and traitor by the Maduro government, was arrested. Combined with these factors, the dispute over the Essequibo region of Guyana increases tensions and concerns of the Palácio do Planalto with a channel of influence on Caracas.

Lula spoke to Maduro about elections

On March 1, Maduro told President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) that elections in Venezuela were scheduled for the second half of this year and that the election would be conducted after a “broad agreement with the opposition” by international observers and an audit of the results are carried out.

According to Lula's advisers, Maduro was the one who raised the issue of the elections. As Portal reported, Lula had already decided to raise the issue before the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) summit.

One of the problems was compliance with the Barbados Agreement, brokered by the US with support from Brazil, which led to an agreement with the opposition. The disqualification of opposition figure María Corina Machado in January raised doubts about whether the trial would proceed as agreed, but a source told Portal that the majority of the opposition viewed the opposition leader's withdrawal as an expected fact.

Lula also intended to raise the issue of Maduro's fiery speeches on the Essequibo issue. There are fears that the Venezuelan president will again threaten to occupy the Guyana region during the elections.

However, the issue was only addressed in passing this Friday, for example in Lula's public speeches about defending a peace zone for the region at the CELAC meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In an interview in Guyana on Thursday, President Lula said he would communicate his position to Maduro and that differences must be resolved through dialogue.

Another topic of the meeting was Venezuela's debt to Brazil. Maduro, who presented Lula with indicators showing an improvement in the country's economic indicators such as inflation, said his government would try to make progress in paying off debt so that trade between the two countries could resume.

According to Planalto, the two presidents also addressed the fight against illegal mining, particularly in the Yanomami indigenous territories, which include areas of both countries.

1 of 1 Image of Nicolás Maduro with gold bars — Photo: Portal Image of Nicolás Maduro with gold bars — Photo: Portal