Planalto will remain silent, for now, about the decision that prevents the main opponent from participating in the election; OAS and Mercosur countries have already criticized
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) decided to wait to comment on the veto of María Corina Machado, main opponent of the head of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, in the country’s elections. Despite it being a decision by the Venezuelan Supreme Court, the PT member hopes that Maduro will reverse the case. The government considers it necessary to be cautious about possible statements at this time because of ongoing negotiations for the next election.
On Friday (January 26, 2024), the TSJ (Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela) banned Corina from holding public office for the next 15 years. With the decision, the opposition is prevented from running in the presidential elections that will be held in the 2nd half of 2024, with no date yet set. She won the opposition primary elections in October 2023 to face the current Venezuelan president.
Corina declared that Maduro and “your criminal system” they chose the worst path: fraudulent elections. “This will not happen”, he said. Understand how the Supreme Court in Venezuela impeached Maduro’s opponent in this report.
Lula hopes that Maduro will be able to change the scenario that has emerged in his country. The Venezuelan president, however, runs the nation in an autocratic manner and has great influence over the local judiciary. He has never shown that he wants to hold truly free elections in the second half of 2024, when he himself intends to win another term.
The 3 founding countries of Mercosur (Southern Common Market), except Brazil, condemned the former deputy’s ineligibility. They are: Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Ecuador also criticized. For the Brazilian government, the reactions are from right-wing administrations, which no longer have a relationship with Maduro.
The OAS (Organization of American States) and the prestigious international group specializing in electoral issues, Idea, also made statements against the veto of the opposition candidate in Venezuela.
For Palácio do Planalto, however, Lula needs to preserve himself to try to mediate a reversal in a situation that the international community seems to already consider lost. Therefore, he believes it is not time for Lula to take a stand. He believes it is possible to move forward with negotiations to normalize the Venezuelan electoral process. Still, the decision against Corina was considered serious.
LULA AND MADURO
Lula is a historic ally of the Venezuelan leader and, since returning to the Executive in 2023, he has worked to rehabilitate Maduro on the international stage.
In May 2023, the Venezuelan was in Brasília and was the only head of state from 12 countries invited to a meeting with the presidents of South American countries to have a bilateral meeting with the PT member outside the event. He was received with the honors of head of state.
At the time, the Brazilian president declared, alongside the Venezuelan: “It is in your hands, comrade, to build your narrative and turn this game around so that we can win definitively and Venezuela can once again become a sovereign country, where only its people, through free voting, say who will govern that country. . That’s all that needs to be done. And then our adversaries will have to apologize for the damage they did in Venezuela.”. Watch.
Two months later, in July, Lula met with Latin American leaders, with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and with a representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs during the Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit with the EU. It was in Brussels (Belgium).
Lula and other Latin American heads of state together with Europeans called for a fair and transparent electoral process in the country, in accordance with the law and international treaties in force.
In October 2023, the Brazilian president spoke to Maduro by phone. The topic: elections in Venezuela to be held in 2024. Lula would have asked for information on possible agreements between Maduro’s government and the opposition, in addition to negotiations with the US to end sanctions then imposed on the country. The information was released by Planalto in a note (full – PDF – 97 kB).
Before that, the Venezuelan president was in Brazil in 2015, to participate in the inauguration of former president Dilma Rousseff (PT). In 2019, he was banned from entering the country by former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) – who broke relations with his neighbor. Bolsonaro himself, however, revoked, on December 30, 2022, the decree that prevented members of Maduro’s administration from entering Brazilian territory.
Since taking office, Lula has resumed diplomatic ties with Venezuela. In January, the government reopened the Brazilian embassy in Caracas, capital of Venezuela. The President’s special advisor for International Affairs, Celso Amorim, visited the city in March and met with Maduro and members of the opposition. At the time, he said he saw a “climate encouraging democracy”.
Brazil was also involved in negotiations for Venezuela to hold elections with the participation of the opposition and the presence of international observers. The process was also being monitored by the United States. The Americans, however, are reviewing their sanctions policy against Venezuela after the Supreme Court’s decision.