The President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, met this Wednesday (10) with the governor of Zulia and the main opposition candidate in the Venezuelan elections, Manuel Rosales, in Caracas. The visit to the Un Nuevo Tiempo candidate was carried out after a meeting between the head of the Colombian Executive and the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.

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With Rosales, the meeting was exclusively to discuss the Venezuelan elections, scheduled for July 28th. The two spoke about compliance with the Barbados agreement and the non-registration of former deputy María Corina Machado and the candidate she nominated, Corina Yoris. Machado has been disqualified by Venezuelan justice for 15 years and has not had a meeting with Petro.

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Although Petro announced that he met with different sectors of the opposition, the Brazil in fact found that the president of Colombia had a meeting only with Rosales’ group. The head of the Venezuelan Executive stated that he had met “perhaps with the most important sectors at this moment”.

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Petro also said that he is preparing a “democratic proposal that allows political peace” in Venezuela.

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On April 2, the president of Colombia criticized María Corina’s inability to run as a candidate and called the action an “anti-democratic coup”. She is prevented from holding public office due to having presented irregularities in the declaration of assets while she was a deputy.

“The right to choose is not just individual. It belongs to society and today this discussion is evident in the events in Venezuela for Mrs. María Corina and others previously: she was disqualified from participating in electoral campaigns by the administrative authorities”, stated Petro.

The speech created diplomatic discomfort between the countries, which exchanged barbs through their chancelleries. On the trip to Venezuela, Petro made himself available to mediate the neighboring country’s elections. After meeting with Maduro, the head of the Colombian Executive stated that the country can help build “political peace” in Venezuela.

In a statement, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said that Maduro detailed to the Colombian the advances in the Venezuelan electoral process and said that everything is within Venezuelan electoral laws and complies with what was signed in the Barbados agreement, discussed between the government and the opposition.

Opposition split

The opposition dispute began after the candidate nominated by María Corina Machado was unable to register. Her group, Vente Venezuela, is not registered as a political party in the country, but rather as a political movement, which can participate in acts, organize events, but not contest elections.

Alternatively, she could seek alliances and win the nomination through a coalition. María Corina turned to the group of which her party is part, the Unitary Platform, which, however, chose another candidate, former ambassador Edmundo González Urrutia. Afterwards, she sought the support of the historic opponent of Chavismo, Manuel Rosales, to try to close an agreement, but not only did she not receive approval from the governor of Zulia, but Rosales himself registered to contest the election.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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