06/11  Closing Prices / revised 06/12/2024 07:53 GMT 06/11 OPEC Basket  $82.36   +$1.43 cents 06/11 Mexico Basket (MME) $72.63  +$0.43  cents  | 04/30 Venezuela Basket (Merey)   $74.91   +$3.93 cents | 06/11 NYMEX WTI Texas Intermediate July CLN24 $77.90  +$0.16 cents  | 06/11 ICE Brent August  BRNQ24    $81.92  +$0.29 cents  | 06/11 NYMEX Gasoline June RBN24  $2.40  +0.1%  |  06/11 NYMEX  Heating Oil July  RBN 24    $2.42  +0.3% | 06/11 Natural Gas July NGN24  $3.12   +7.7%  | 06/07 Active U.S. Rig Count (Oil & Gas)   594  -6  | 06/12 USD/MXN Mexican Peso   18.6503  (data live)  | 06/12 EUR/USD     1.0745 (data live)  | 06/12 US/Bs. (Bolivar)   $36.43850000 ( data BCV)

Venezuela’s Strongman Decides Who Will Run Against Him in Presidential Election – Juan Forero and Kejal Vyas

Nicolás Maduro blocks opposition candidate, an 80-year-old academic, but allows governor who is on cordial terms with regime to run. In photography Gov. Manuel Rosales has been allowed to run in Venezuela’s presidential election. (Getty)

By Juan Forero and Kejal Vyas

Venezuela’s regime barred the leading opposition candidate from running in July’s presidential election, a maneuver that political analysts say splits strongman Nicolás Maduro’s foes and reduces voter turnout, both goals of his government as it prepares to extend its 25-year rule.

Instead, Manuel Rosales, a 71-year-old governor who has had amicable relations with the government, was permitted shortly before midnight Monday to register for the July 28 election. The regime didn’t allow the Democratic Unitary Platform coalition of several parties to register its preferred candidate, Corina Yoris, an academic and grandmother of seven who had been chosen to run just this past Friday.

The developments left the opposition, which has also seen many of its political activists arrested in recent weeks, crestfallen on Tuesday. It was also a blow to the Biden administration, which had lifted economic sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry to encourage Maduro to permit free and fair elections.

Maria Corina Machado, who was chosen in a primary last year to challenge Maduro and then banned, declined to offer Rosales support. 

“Our candidate is Corina Yoris,” she said Tuesday morning in a press conference in the Venezuelan capital. She called the machinations at the National Electoral Council, which is stacked with Maduro’s allies, antidemocratic and “too shameless, too dark, too grotesque.”

“These are not elections if the regime chooses the candidates,” she said.

In an interview on Colombia’s Blu Radio, Yoris said that Rosales’s registration amounted to “a betrayal” of the opposition coalition to which he also belonged.

Corina Yoris has been barred from challenging Nicolás Maduro for president. Photo: Adriana Loureiro Fernandez for The Wall Street Journal
Corina Yoris has been barred from challenging Nicolás Maduro for president. Photo: Adriana Loureiro Fernandez for The Wall Street Journal

“When you talk about palatable candidates for regime, you talk of those who don’t represent a danger to its permanence in power,” Yoris said. The 80-year-old said that she was blocked from registering her candidacy online and that military checkpoints stopped her from taking her paperwork to the council.

Rosales, who is the governor of oil-rich Zulia state, has nominally been in the opposition. 

But he has broken ranks with other opposition leaders in the past. He has come out against U.S. sanctions leveled against the regime and recognized Maduro’s 2018 election victory, which dozens of democratic governments denounced as fraudulent. Maduro has been president since 2013, when he won the election to succeed his political benefactor, Hugo Chávez, whose rule had begun in 1999.

Rosales’s political party, A New Era, defended his candidacy as a “brave, historic and responsible decision” in the face of a range of bad options.

In a press conference early Tuesday afternoon, Rosales said, “We have two paths: Vote for change or not vote and let Venezuela keep falling apart.”

Rosales pledged to lead the “biggest rebellion through votes” in Venezuelan history. “We have to vote for Venezuela. That’s why I’m here,” he said.

Maria Corina Machado was chosen in a primary last year to challenge the Venezuelan president, and then was banned. Photo: miguel gutierrez/Shutterstock

David Smilde, a professor who tracks Venezuelan politics at Tulane University, said the regime believes it can work with Rosales, in contrast with other politicians who have supported sanctions and criminal charges against Maduro’s inner circle. 

“They’re making sure that the worst-case scenario of losing an election wouldn’t be that bad if this guy wins,” Smilde said. “They see him with good reason as more moderate and less vendetta-driven.”

Smilde said the regime also hopes that Rosales, who polls show has far less support among voters than Machado, would divide the opposition coalition and push angered political leaders to call for a boycott.

That would give Maduro an edge in the vote, while also reducing voter turnout. A poll carried out between Feb. 20 and March 3 by the American company ClearPath Strategies showed that 76% of opposition and undecided voters want the chance to cast a ballot, despite Maduro’s crackdown on the opposition.

“The worst enemy of the opposition isn’t Maduro, it’s abstention,” said Guillermo Bolinaga, a Venezuelan with the Opportunitas Advisors political-risk firm based in South Florida.

Some polls suggest that the high disapproval ratings logged in polls about Maduro, who is widely blamed for Venezuela’s descent into economic depression and autocracy, would allow an opposition candidate to beat him in the election, even without Machado’s endorsement. 

Political scientists and economists say Maduro’s prohibition on candidates who would beat him will pressure the Biden administration to reimpose the economic sanctions that it relaxed in October to coax Maduro and his rivals into negotiations and lead to fair elections. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration is “deeply concerned by the National Electoral Council’s decision to prevent the registration of the opposition party’s candidate.”

She said the administration is still working to ensure Venezuelans can participate in an inclusive election and urged the regime “to allow all candidates to run.” Jean-Pierre said “sanctions relief”—the lifting of sanctions from October—would remain in place if Maduro “upholds the commitments” made to move toward free and fair elections.

Seven Latin American countries said in a statement that the restrictions against the opposition impede the path toward democratic elections. Colombia’s leftist government, in a rare and separate critique, said blocking the candidate of the main opposition coalition “could affect some sectors of the international community’s confidence in the transparency and competitiveness of the electoral process.”

Rosales urged compatriots to cast ballots despite the injustices faced by other candidates and told them not to count on a solution coming from foreign pressure on Maduro. “We need to forget these fantasies…of a magic fix,” he said. “We have no other solutions other than voting.” 

_________________________________________

Juan Forero is the bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal in South America. Kejal Vyas is the regional correspondent in South America for The Wall Street Journal. Energiesnet.com does not necessarily share these views.  EnergiesNet.com does not necessarily share these views. Write to Juan Forero at juan.forero@wsj.com and Kejal Vyas at kejal.vyas@wsj.com

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Appeared in the March 27, 2024, print edition as ‘Venezuela’s Strongman Picks Opponent’. All comments posted and published on EnergiesNet or Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of EnergiesNet or Petroleumworld.

Original article

Use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

EnergiesNet.com 03 27 2024

Share this news

Support EnergiesNet.com

By Elio Ohep · Launched in 1999 under Petroleumworld.com

Information & News on Latin America’s Energy, Oil, Gas, Renewables, Climate, Technology, Politics and Social issues

Contact : editor@petroleuworld.com


CopyRight©1999-2021, EnergiesNet.com™  / Elio Ohep – All rights reserved
 

This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission fromPetroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.

 
 
Scroll to Top