Venezuela announces that it will not accept European observation in the 2024 presidential elections | International

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The president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Jorge Rodríguez, announced this Thursday that the government of Nicolás Maduro will not allow the presence of a European Union Observation Mission in the country for the 2024 presidential elections. In a fiery harangue in full legislative session, Rodríguez, one of the normally moderate spokesmen of the revolutionary establishment, stated: “We don't have time to consider the request that we are made to come. I tell you directly, Josep Borrell, as long as we are the representatives of the Venezuelan State, you are not going to come. No mission from Europe will come here. They have violated the agreement we signed with them.”

Rodríguez, who has taken care to cultivate political relations with European diplomacy in recent years, thus responded to the pronouncement of the European Parliament on the Venezuelan situation. This Wednesday, with a very broad vote, the European Parliament condemned the political disqualification of María Corina Machado, the opposition leader who leads all the opinion polls for the opposition primaries, once again showed her "concern" about the evolution of the Venezuelan regime and called for the release of the 280 political prisoners.

Over the months, the more conciliatory attitude and willingness to dialogue between Maduro and Rodríguez has mutated to harden in the haggling of demands with their adversaries. The Chavista delegation that opened to negotiate with the opposition has redoubled its demands, refusing to return to a dialogue table with the anti-Chavista leaders that was initially explored in Mexico. The Venezuelan president has conditioned any approach or transfer to the release of businessman Alex Saab, close to the Government and imprisoned for money laundering in the United States. He also demands the total dismantling of the sanctions adopted by the United States, Canada and the European Union.

In recent days, fears have increased in the opposition ranks regarding the possibility that the Supreme Court of Justice of the country, completely colonized by Chavismo, issues a sentence in which it admits the organization of the primaries, but forces the opposition to agreeing with the new directive of the National Electoral Council, which has not yet been appointed. This decision would embarrass the opposition, which had already decided to organize the election on its own after the resignation of the previous CNE leadership. A replacement dictated by Chavismo would, in all probability, generate new discrepancies in the opposition leadership.

The previous leadership of the CNE, relatively balanced and the result of a political agreement with the opposition in 2021, unilaterally resigned from their positions before the National Assembly a few weeks ago, without giving any public explanation – and also forcing the resignation of the opposition rectors. who did not want to resign - shortly after the opposition Electoral Commission asked them for assistance in organizing their primary elections.

On Wednesday, at the Andrés Bello Catholic University, -with the notable absence of Henrique Capriles, who declined at the last minute-, the debate of the 10 candidates for the primary election organized by the Unitary Platform through its Electoral Commission was held with citizenship, even with Venezuelans who left in search of opportunities. In the final greeting for the press, Machado, who assures that he seeks to lead a common project and overcome the troubles with other candidates, refused to take his colleagues by the hand to make the sign of victory.

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Although the top leaders of Chavismo generally avoid naming her, it seems clear that there is some mortification at the rapid growth in popularity of the most intransigent and anti-communist of all Venezuelan opponents. A popularity that, according to qualified analysts, such as Félix Seijas, from the Delphos firm, "has doubled in just over a month, doubling her closest followers, with a very compromised voting intention."

Machado's growth has led a government that is weak in the polls, still having to deal with the complications of the economy, to play hardball with the law to eliminate its opponents. Machado has declared that his candidacy will continue "until the end" and has assured that he will never abide by any measure forged by Chavismo's institutions.

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