Chavismo’s cards have been laid on the table this Wednesday. President Nicolás Maduro It stipulates the lifting of international sanctions to hold free elections by 2024. “If they want free elections, we want elections without obstacles. At the time set by the National Electoral Council and the Constitution, we have the dilemma of removing all of them in order to go to free, new elections,” Maduro said in a meeting with foreign reporters in Caracas.
Maduro spoke to reporters at Miraflores Palace about his return To the dialogue table with the opposition parties in Mexico, the main objective is to set a date for the elections and ensure that these are verified by the international community. The government returned to those talks, which were suspended a year ago, after agreeing to freeze $3,000 million in frozen government accounts abroad.
In the speech, Maduro argued that economic sanctions were the root cause of this years’ Venezuelan crisis, his government’s evasion of responsibility. This is the main thesis Chavismo defends to justify its permanence in power. He was particularly pleased that government funds frozen in international banks had been released to address the humanitarian crisis that has led to the displacement of millions of Venezuelans.
“This is an agreement that has very important elements of a social nature for the life of Venezuela and its essence is the recovery of more than 3,000 million, disabled and kidnapped, in bank accounts in the United States and Europe belonging to the Venezuelan people.” He said.. And he refers to his enemies: “We are negotiating with the representatives of the smugglers, with the ambassadors of the smugglers, and with the representatives of the smugglers an agreement was signed to invest money from Venezuela.”.
The Venezuelan president argued that the 600 sanctions are affecting the national economy “especially the oil and manufacturing sector”. He blamed the Venezuelan opposition’s “coercion, meddling, terrorism and prokinga (pro-US) right” sector for these years of crisis.
The opposition wants these presidential elections to be held in 2024 with the supervision of international organizations and guarantees that they will be clean and fair. To defeat Maduro, opponents are set to hold primaries in which a candidate will emerge. Around that candidate will be a common front against Chavismo, which now controls Venezuelan institutions. Opponents say Maduro was fraudulently re-elected in 2018, which later led to Juan Quito’s interim government.
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Guaidó has emerged in recent years as Maduro’s main political rival, backed by the United States. But, that unity is broken. Many members of the opposition delegation in Mexico disagree with Guaido’s political strategy and believe the time has come to end this parallel government and defeat Chavismo on its own soil. There is speculation in some quarters that the remaining anti-Savista parties will not accept Guaidó in office.
Maduro’s stalwart in government is Jorge Rodriguez, president of the Venezuelan parliament and head of the Chavista delegation to Mexico. Rodríguez insisted that Guaidó’s parallel government lacks legitimacy and that the United States and the international community are now sitting down to negotiate with Venezuela’s functioning government.
A year ago, the Chavista government was isolated and facing serious financial problems due to the country’s economic crisis and international sanctions. His distance with the opposition was marginal. No communication channel with USA. Everything changed in a few months. Washington is reaching out to Chavismo to find alternative energy sources to Russian energy, Colombia’s Gustavo Pedro is pushing for Venezuela’s inclusion in regional organizations and presidents like Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden have proposed curbing the situation in Venezuela.
For now, Chavismo has agreed to negotiate with the opposition in exchange for a good chunk of money from abroad. Now, Maduro is demanding that all sanctions be lifted so that free elections can be held. The United States and Europe, the main sanctioners, must assess Maduro’s genuine desire to keep these elections competitive.
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