“The elections are now,” Nicolas Maduro chanted after the National Assembly announced its decision to draw up the electoral calendar for 2024 with “candidates, parties and voter movements who want it.” “Inclusive dialogue,” Venezuela’s president added. But the words of enthusiasm collide with a political present that closely resembles recent frustrations. Maria Corina Machado, the opposition candidate who was eliminated from the primaries, was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Justice for her alleged participation in conspiratorial acts, and the United States announced the return of economic sanctions.
The situation is circular in Venezuela: negotiations, an opening scene, a sense that the conflict is on the right track, and suddenly, official allegations of failed attacks against Maduro, a new wave of repression, and the hardening of the Miraflores Palace. No one was surprised on Tuesday night when US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that economic sanctions affecting oil, gas and gold would return on April 18, and that they had facilitated the conclusion of agreements with companies such as Spain’s Repsol. On that day, the flexibility granted in the Barbados Agreements between the administration and the opposition to hold general elections without exclusions ends.
The United States views the Supreme Court's opinion on Machado's nomination as a “lack of progress” on the goals agreed in October. Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic, France, Panama, Canada and Ecuador also questioned the Supreme Court's ruling, and Chile expressed “concern.”
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez was quick to respond. He added: “If they take the wrong step of intensifying economic aggression against Venezuela, the return flights of Venezuelan migrants after February 13 will be canceled, and any existing cooperation mechanism will be reviewed.” Oil Minister Rafael Telechia added: “If more sanctions are imposed on us, we will have a strong industry to deal with the global energy crisis.”
The opposition, which united behind Machado – although not all of them support the right-wing program of the leader of Venezuela's Viente – once again heard Maduro's sarcastic tone when he supported “with all his strengths” the preparation for the presidential elections. The timetable is at the “Great National Dialogue Table”. Amidst the cry of “shit” “Yankees,” Jorge Rodriguez, head of the delegation that negotiated in Barbados with the opposition, summoned “businessmen, peasants, visual artists, university professors and school teachers” to join the fray. Meanwhile, the National Electoral Council remains silent. “There are no elections without me,” Machado replied. There are millions here who want change and voted in the primaries for my candidacy to defeat Maduro. “The regime underestimated that.”
According to political analyst Luis Vicente León, Maduro will not empower Machado, but he says that the return of sanctions will not solve the problem. The analyst believes that the Madurese will prevail on his soil, as happened in Chile in 1988, when the opposition defeated dictator Augusto Pinochet in the referendum in which he sought to immortalize himself.
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