Venezuela: Conservative Leader Turns on Juan Guaidó, Rejects ‘Unity’ with Socialists

Venezuelan opposition ex-congresswoman Maria Corina Machado delivers a press conference in Caracas on June 29, 2018. - Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado denied Friday being involved in an alleged military plot to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP) (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via …

Venezuelan opposition leader María Corina Machado – head of the country’s only mainstream center-right party, Vente Venezuela – rejected the possibility this weekend of a pact with socialist President Juan Guaidó against socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro.

“When asked if we will work together, the answer is no,” Machado said in a video posted on her Twitter account Saturday after a “frank” conversation with Guaidó, who constitutionally has a legal mandate to govern, but has failed to do so as the Venezuelan military answers to Maduro.

Her comments come after Guaidó, who now sits as an independent after leaving the socialist Popular Will party this year, called on all opponents of Maduro to form a unitary electoral pact to “avoid parliamentary fraud” in the upcoming National Assembly elections set to take place on December 6. Popular Will is a full member of the Socialist International, as are two other political parties self proclaimed in opposition to Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Increasingly lost for ideas, Guaidó has argued that forming such a pact would serve as a “mechanism” to “massive citizen participation,” where a mass anti-Maduro vote would allow the opposition to keep control of the country’s last democratically elected legislature.

Last month, Guaidó indicated he would not participate in the upcoming elections, describing them as a “farce” and claiming it would be far worse if he allowed the regime to “once again trick Venezuelans and the world in such a way.” However, he now appears to have backtracked on that position, amid reports that he is meeting with the former Governor of Miranda and leader of center-left Justice First party, Henrique Capriles, to discuss his latest proposal. Capriles rose to prominence as a leader of the establishment opposition by losing twice in disputed presidential elections, first against late dictator Hugo Chávez and then against Maduro in the election following Chávez’s death.

Machado is one of the numerous opposition leaders planning to boycott the election, citing how the Maduro regime has successfully rigged the vast majority of national elections over the past decade, most notably the 2018 presidential election widely denounced by the international observers as a sham.

In June, the socialist-controlled Supreme Court appointed a new set of pro-Maduro electoral authorities, a power that can only legally be enforced by the legislature. In 2017, the Maduro regime also created an illegal parallel lawmaking body known as the “national constituent assembly,” filled entirely with his supporters to push through legislation against any opposition to Maduro, dubbed laws against “hate.” Neither Maduro nor a legitimate president has a constitutional right to create a second federal legislature.

“The country is very clear that we are facing a criminal regime, there is nothing more to consult,” contended Machado, who Maduro has banned from leaving the country. “It is not true that Venezuelans have only to choose between the indefinite permanence of Nicolás Maduro, through electoral farces, or the indefinite permanence of the interim government, through plebiscite consultations.”

According to numerous polls, Guaidó has lost most of his support with the Venezuelan population since his inauguration as president in January 2019. His support has also waned abroad, as President Donald Trump is reportedly becoming disillusioned with his leadership and weakness after he repeatedly entered unsuccessful negotiations with the regime.

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