US backs Venezuelan opposition amidst persecution by Nicolás Maduro

US backs Venezuelan opposition amidst persecution by Nicolás Maduro

US government has expressed its support to the Venezuelan opposition following the international alert issued by its leader, María Corina Machado, in view of the persecution and detention of members of her electoral team.

This situation has generated deep concern in the international community.

Response from the United States

Deputy Secretary of State, Brian A. Nichols, expressed his concern for the recent actions against the opposition and the civil society in Venezuela, based on unfounded accusations. In this regard, the U.S. official emphasized the importance of promoting a more open political environment, competitive presidential elections and due process.

Nichols stressed that the electoral roadmap agreed to in the Barbados Accords calls for a culture of tolerance and coexistence, as well as a level playing field for all political actors. Unfortunately, none of these conditions are currently being met in Venezuela, as Machado denounced in her speech.

Persecution and arrests against the opposition

María Corina Machado denounced the repression and persecution she and her campaign team have suffered. The leader of Vente Venezuela directly accused Nicolás Maduro of violating the Barbados agreements, subscribed between the government and the opposition under the auspices of the United States.

Opposition candidate expressed her indignation and firmness when denouncing the arrest of two regional heads of her campaign command, as well as the persecution of three other members of her team. Machado affirmed that it is impossible to carry out an electoral campaign when team members are kidnapped and disappear.

In addition to the arrests, Machado also made reference to the threatening graffiti that have appeared on her party headquarters and homes of other opposition members. These graffiti bear the message “Bolivarian Fury”, in reference to a civil-military-police operation that has been launched from the Miraflores Palace to persecute and intimidate those who oppose the regime.

Arbitrary and violent arrests

The persecution against the opposition has led to illegal and arbitrary detentions by government forces. One of the most prominent cases is that of Juan Freites, coordinator of Vente Venezuela in Vargas state. A security camera video shows the moment in which armed people in civilian clothes violently kidnap Freites.

Another case is that of Luis Camacaro, coordinator in Yaracuy, one of the plains states. Currently, there is no information on his whereabouts. Likewise, Douglas Rodriguez, head of the Bolivar command on the Brazilian border, was rescued by a group of citizens while being held at gunpoint by government agents.

These illegal and violent arrests are part of a systematic strategy of the Chavista regime to persecute and weaken the political opposition. The repression against leaders such as Capriles, Guaidó and now Machado demonstrates the growing autocracy of the government.

International reactions

Venezuelan government’s actions have generated concern internationally. The White House has been one of the agencies that has expressed its disapproval of the situation. Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre responded to the accusations of conspiracy and assassination made by Maduro, and stated that they do not seem credible.

International community has urged the Venezuelan government to respect human rights and guarantee a fair and transparent electoral process. Several countries have expressed their support for the Venezuelan opposition and have called for concrete measures to put an end to persecution and arbitrary detentions.

Conclusions

Persecution and detention of members of the Venezuelan opposition is evidence of the deteriorating political situation in the country. International support for the opposition is critical to pressure the government of Nicolás Maduro and demand a more open political environment, competitive presidential elections and due process.

We hope that the international community will continue to express its support for the Venezuelan opposition and take concrete steps to ensure respect for human rights and democracy in Venezuela.