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Maria Corina Machado, Venezuela’s most overwhelming electoral phenomenon since Chavez in 1998

Maria Corina Machado, Venezuela’s most overwhelming electoral phenomenon since Chavez in 1998

Venezuelan opposition leader @MariaCorinaYA greets her followers on top of a car on 5th Avenue in the state of #Tachira, Venezuela on June 28, 2024. REUTERS/Gaby Ora

María Corina Machado has become a political brand in her own right. In just over a year, she has won virtually all the opposition votes, and her name represents anti-Chavismo more than any other. Since Hugo Chávez in 1998, no such electoral phenomenon has been remembered. During this period, Machado has focused on his right-wing positions, preaching change and illusion more than direct criticism of the current president, Nicolás Maduro. Chavismo has done the impossible to prevent her from confronting Maduro, and it has succeeded: it has disqualified her from running for elections for 15 years. That would have ended anyone’s career, but Machado is so motivated that he has given all his capital to an unknown 74-year-old academic named Edmundo González Urrutia, who is ahead of Maduro in the polls and already knows everything. Venezuela. Hurricane Machado threatens 25 years of the Bolivarian Revolution.

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“The sense of change, opposition to the government as a social movement, has long been the majority in Venezuela,” says political analyst and Dataincorp director Jesús Seguías. “In the last primaries, people also punished the traditional leadership of the opposition for its failures, and since then that has been the Maria Corina Machado moment,” he points out, adding that she “added an addition” to this aspiration for change. . Machado has already crossed the opposition’s boundaries. “It is national leadership and embodies a widespread dream in the country.”

Seguias maintains that the transfer of state from Machado to Edmundo has been done perfectly, but objects to the guardianship she still has in the political process, saying she must hand over control to González Urrutia to make the transition to democracy possible. This has not been done yet, for now Machado is still in the lead. In leading his campaign there is an air of contained euphoria, and there is still a certain surprise when checking the scale of the popular marches he calls for. There are people walking kilometers to join their caravans, and arrival at each city is preceded by long queues of motorized vehicles. Many activists from his command witness the greetings of soldiers at the checkpoints.

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A focus group organized by the Center for Popular Research, moderated by sociologists Mirla Pérez and Alexandre Guerrero, currently identifies Venezuela as a society where communal life has been reborn in its poorest classes due to instability; Whereas, unlike in the past, Chavista social programs – especially CLAP boxes, which are monthly food bags – are unpopular and rejected, even though the population also needs them.

“No woman in this country will ever lower her head again in order to get a bag of applause,” Machado announced during a huge event in the city of Mérida, in the country’s Andean region, another stop on her tour. “This regime is already defeated. Our children will return to Venezuela, we will reunite with our relatives and we will rebuild our country. There is no doubt that we will win.”

“I don’t really like to use these types of terms, because they would depend on their validity and their ephemeral nature, but if we strictly adhere to the concept, María Corina Machado is of course a political phenomenon,” says Diego Bautista Urbanega, writer and essayist at the Venezuelan Academy of History. “An image that represents a symbol and popular enthusiasm. It remains to be seen how long its roots will be, and how deep they will be. The facts will tell us.”

While this is happening, the Chavista leadership, especially leaders like Jorge Rodriguez and Diosdado Cabello, seem quite confident of Maduro’s victory, who is also launching an intensive campaign and touring the country with the help of a daily bombardment of multimedia advertisements in his favor. According to reliable polls, Maduro has increased his approval rating from 21% to 25%. These same measurements give Edmundo González the winner with some ease.

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Recently, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López made some uncomfortable statements at the end of a military parade commemorating the Battle of Carabobo, which gave Venezuela independence in 1821. Padrino described what he sees as the country’s current crossroads: “We will have to resolve the dilemma of returning to colonialism or surrendering, siding with imperialism or siding with the brave, courageous, Bolivarian, anti-imperialist rebel homeland.”

To read the full note, here