Elections Leopoldo López gives his support to Machado to lead the Venezuelan opposition

The opposition primaries, to be held next week, have an owner in advance: the conservative María Corina Machado

Elections Leopoldo López gives his support to Machado to lead the Venezuelan opposition

The opposition primaries, to be held next week, have an owner in advance: the conservative María Corina Machado. According to all the surveys, she did not need him at all, but yesterday she added more support to her candidacy when Freddy Superlano, standard bearer of Voluntad Popular (VP), who defeated Chavismo in 2021 in Barinas, the cradle of the revolution, resigned. .

Several weeks of arduous negotiations were necessary to seal the agreement between Machado and VP, the party created by the former political prisoner Leopoldo López and in which the former interim president, Juan Guaidó, is a member. Superlano precisely replaced Guaidó when he, persecuted by Chavismo, went into exile in the United States.

"We are here to strengthen this process," picked up the political gauntlet Machado, who has received a wave of popular support in his tours around the country precisely for having served as a loose verse in the opposition to Nicolás Maduro.

The most striking thing is that both candidates, Machado and Superlano, are disqualified by the revolution, as is former governor Henrique Capriles, who also abandoned the fight for the presidential nomination a week ago. Precisely in the primaries held by the opposition a decade ago, Leopoldo López joined the candidacy of his great rival, Capriles, because he was weighed down by the disqualification imposed by Hugo Chávez against whoever was the emerging mayor of Chacao, Caracas.

"Our party's decision was unanimous and full of optimism," López said to try to deny the complaints that arose among militants from within Venezuela. "On the street everyone professes that she is the winner of the primaries," Superlano certified. That's how it is. The pollster Delphos has portrayed the photograph of the political moment and its numbers are conclusive: the leader of Vente Venezuela concentrates 71% of the support, with an advantage of more than 60 points over the social democrat Carlos Prosperi, with barely 10% of following . The rest of the candidates, a dozen that cover the entire political spectrum, barely exceed 2% of support.

The big question is that Machado, according to other polls, would also beat Maduro by a landslide in next year's presidential elections. An election in which Chavismo does not allow him to participate for that very reason, because of his popular support: more than 40% of votes between the two. Maduro has already conveyed to ambassadors and allies that he will remain in power until at least 2030. Or as Chávez shouted, always 2,000.

It is at this point where the long secret negotiations between Washington and Caracas, which have accelerated in recent weeks, become especially relevant. In the script, the United States would relax its sanctions in exchange for electoral conditions, but almost no one believes that these will cover disqualifications.

It is precisely these conversations that have allowed the organization of the primaries to advance without the final blow despite the government's setbacks. Delphos predicts that between 8% and 20% of those registered on the electoral roll will be able to vote for their favorite candidate.

Chavismo invented Machado's 15-year disqualification a few weeks ago, upon verifying the support he obtained in each municipality to which he traveled. He also viciously persecuted her, like Capriles, with constant harassment, even leading to violence.

To further complicate the negotiations, Maduro changed the National Electoral Council (CNE), which was under his control, for another even more faithful one, chaired by his inseparable Elvis Amoroso. Precisely this leader, former Comptroller General of the Republic, was in charge of disqualifying Machado and Superlano himself.

"After the opposition primary, the implementation of a possible agreement would have to be evaluated. In addition to its history of non-compliance, the Maduro government's interest in the agreement is very specific and short-term: try to quickly obtain resources. It could be retracted," Mariano predicted. de Alba, senior advisor to the Crisis Group.