Venezuela: Maduro Says No ‘Free and Fair’ Elections Without Total End to Sanctions

Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, speaks during a press conference at Miraflores
Matias Delacroix/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CARACAS, Venezuela — Socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro announced at an international press conference on Wednesday that he would not support “free and fair” elections in Venezuela until all sanctions imposed upon his regime were first rescinded. 

“Want free, fair, and transparent elections? Elections free of sanctions,” Maduro said. “Remove them all to go to fresh, beautiful, good elections at the moment that the constitution and the CNE [Venezuela’s Electoral Council] determine.”

Maduro has been usurping the presidency of the South American nation since January 2019, when his last legitimate six-year term ended. Since then, countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have imposed new sanctions upon the rogue socialist regime in addition to pre-existing ones. Maduro has clung to power after holding sham presidential elections in May 2018, which prompted the then opposition-led National Assembly to act upon what the Venezuelan Constitution mandates and designated Juan Guaidó as interim president.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido delivers a speech during a press conference in Caracas, on September 16, 2022. - Guaidó gave a balance and accountability of his management as "interim president", a title recognized by the United States, which handed to Guaidó control of blocked resources to President Nicolás Maduro. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP) (Photo by FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido delivers a speech during a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela, on September 16, 2022. (FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Guaidó’s government had promised that free and fair elections would take place in Venezuela following the end of Maduro´s usurpation of power and after a transitory government was implemented — none of which ultimately materialized.

Maduro’s comments come days after a delegation representing his regime and members of Venezuela’s “opposition” Unitary Platform resumed negotiations, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was a big promoter of, with one of the main goals being holding “free and fair” presidential elections in 2024 — although Maduro himself has vaguely expressed the possibility of holding them in 2023 instead.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference in Geneva on January 21, 2022 following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister. - Washington and Moscow's top diplomats agreed at high-stakes talks to keep working to ease tensions over Ukraine. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference in Geneva on January 21, 2022. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Both sides signed a partial agreement that includes the release of $3 billion of Venezuela’s frozen overseas bank account assets that the socialist regime will allegedly use on public utilities, education, health, and to mitigate the effects caused by the rains and floods that occurred in Venezuela during 2022.

Maduro also claimed that his regime already has a plan for the additional $24 billion currently frozen in overseas accounts. 

“We are negotiating with the representatives of the kidnappers,” Maduro said this week, referring to countries that froze Venezuela’s assets in light of Maduro’s illegitimate stay in power. “We are negotiating with the envoys of the kidnappers and an agreement has been signed with the representatives of the kidnappers for the money from Venezuela to be invested in the country.”

Jorge Rodríguez, president of the current regime-led National Assembly and head of the Maduro regime’s negotiating team, claimed during a press conference on Wednesday that the agreement that was signed with the Venezuelan “opposition” was akin to an “act of surrender” by the “opposition.”

“This is the death certificate of the Guaidóist adventure because when European countries and the United States celebrate the signing of the social agreement, they are in some way acknowledging that the record of coups d’état, assassination attempts, invasion attempts, attempts to set up parallel puppet governments, failed. It is like a kind of act of surrender, a kind of capitulation to the entire war strategy,” Rodríguez said.

Maduro also availed himself of his international press conference to blast the Venezuelan “opposition” Unitary Platform right after his regime had signed an agreement with it, branding its members “terrorists” and “pro-gringo.”

“They call themselves the Unitary Platform, that group of right-wing [editor’s note: they are socialists] coupist, interventionist, pro-gringo and terrorist political parties that have existed in Venezuela. Someone will say that I am tough. It’s not me, it’s reality,” Maduro said.

Maduro briefly addressed the fact that the administration of leftist American President Joe Biden had given his regime sanctions relief as recently as this week, allowing Venezuelan regime oil to enter American markets. Maduro proclaimed it was not “enough.”

“The licenses that the United States has given to Chevron, those that are known and those that are not known, go in the right direction, but they are not enough for what Venezuela demands,” Maduro said.

Lastly, Maduro announced that he will establish dialogues with all the “oppositions” to “visualize” electoral scenarios towards “free and fair elections.”

“With the Unitary Platform of Venezuela at the time, we first have to see if they keep their word or not,” Maduro said. “We are going to talk because we want free elections, free of sanctions, free of coercive measures, either there are elections free of sanctions or there are elections free of sanctions, that is the dilemma.”

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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