The Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) of Venezuela has nullified, “in all respects,” the primary election process that resulted in the designation of Maria Corina Machado as the leader of the Venezuelan opposition. Meanwhile, the United States has called for the respect of the agreements from Barbados, between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, signed on October 17th, to ensure transparency in the 2024 presidential elections.
The judgment issued by the Electoral Chamber of the SCJ declares, “All effects of the various phases of the electoral process conducted by the National Primary Commission are suspended.” Furthermore, the judgment instructs the National Primary Commission, the governing body for opposition primary elections, to submit the “administrative records” of the process phases to the court within 3 days.
Additionally, it demands the submission of acceptance records for the aspirants Maria Corina Machado, Henrique Capriles, and Freddy Superlano, all three of whom have been disqualified by Venezuelan courts.
This process was initiated after the SCJ admitted a request filed by the ruling party deputy, José Brito, who requested a review of the opposition’s internal process, citing irregularities and referring to it as “a big scam,” although he provided no evidence for his accusations.
Venezuelan opposition figures have criticized this decision by their country’s court. They believe that the now-annulled process was transparent and argue that the decision to annul it is nothing more than another maneuver by the Chavista regime to hinder the opposition’s path to the long-awaited presidential elections next year. In the opposition’s candidate selection process for those elections, held on October 22nd, 2.3 million people participated.
In this regard, Henrique Capriles, who chose not to participate in those primary elections, expressed on his social media account, “Every attack and mockery against Venezuelans who are suffering the consequences of an indifferent government today will increase the number of votes with which we will change the worst government in history.”
Similarly, opposition figure Freddy Superlano also discredited the decision of the Venezuelan high court, stating, “The express judgment of the SCJ will not invalidate the will expressed on October 22nd in endorsing Maria Corina Machado as the winner.”
The United States Warns It Will “Take Measures”
The United States, on its part, has warned that it will “take measures” if the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, fails to comply with the agreement reached with the opposition in Barbados. This warning was issued by a spokesperson from the Department of State.
It’s worth noting that the U.S. recently lifted sanctions on Venezuelan oil, gas, and gold, which were imposed following Nicolás Maduro’s victory in the 2018 elections. The U.S. decision was made after the Venezuelan government reached an agreement with the opposition to ensure a clean and transparent electoral process for the 2024 presidential elections.
Likewise, the U.S. State Department stated that it would reinstate sanctions if the Maduro government did not lift the disqualifications of opposition candidates and release “political prisoners” by the end of November.