In a conversation with the Spanish newspaper ABC, María Corina Machado, the national coordinator of the Venezuelan party “Vente Venezuela,” spoke about the dire political and economic affairs in her country, the federal prosecution of Alex Saab, and some of the obstacles previously faced by the Venezuelan opposition in its attempt to remove from power the Chavista regime of Nicolás Maduro.
The opposition leader explained that Alex Saab—Maduro’s alleged frontman accused by the Justice Department of money laundering—serves as a prime example of the national and international intricacies of corruption and how the Chavista regime has used people to gain power and steal from its citizens.
“It has been known for a long time that Mr. Saab has acted as a hinge between multiple sectors. He has also done so with actors that call themselves opposition, but that the regime uses as hostages to advance some of its initiatives and operations,” Machado said.
Machado also explained that other similar cases—such as that of Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal, former Chávez’s Chief of Intelligence; and that of Claudia Díaz, ex-treasurer also of Hugo Chávez accused by the United States of bribery and money laundering—are a demonstration of how the justice system acts. She indicated that this is what she and her party are referring to when they propose the advancement of a strategy involving international justice to corner the Chavista system.
“They have to be treated as what they are: they are criminals, they are not politicians. These are important steps in that direction”, he commented.
In the same tone, Machado let her position known on the upcoming mayoral and gubernatorial elections of November 21. Machado insisted that these elections would not be free and fair, since she considers that there is no rule of law in Venezuela. She also stated that the Venezuelan territory is taken over by irregular groups that keep Venezuelans from voting in a democratic manner.
In her opinion, this electoral process is a strategy of Nicolás Maduro and his regime to obtain international recognition, considering that more than fifty countries do not recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Precisely, for this reason, Machado pointed out that it is a way for the regime to obtain an international endorsement.
María Corina Machado on the international community
Machado recalled that the Maduro regime has the support of countries such as China, Cuba, Turkey and Russia and pointed out that it is necessary for the democracies of the hemisphere to unite in defense of regional freedom. She stressed that “the drama in Venezuela cannot be contained within our borders. The regime seeks to destabilize the democracies of Latin America”.
“This is an unconventional war that uses multiple planes of struggle that seeks to break Venezuela, occupy it with criminal forces and use our country as an enclave to extend this conflict and take control of other areas of the Western Hemisphere”, he commented.
She also reiterated that in order to have a successful negotiation in Venezuela, it is necessary to change the conditions of this dialogue, to change the actors and to establish an objective: the liberation of the country.
She is sure that the process taking place in Mexico, in which representatives of Maduro and a so-called Unitary Platform are talking, will not have good results. Mainly, because she believes that there is no level playing field.
“A resolution of the conflict in Venezuela through negotiation is possible. But not that negotiation. Things have to be done very differently.”
Commenting on the role of the international community, Machado regretted the actions of Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU, regarding Venezuela and stressed that his work has not helped relieve the struggles of Venezuelans.
“It is very regrettable the role that Josep Borrell is playing. There are multiple actions of Mr. Borrell that seek to give legitimacy and stability to Maduro’s tyranny”, he said, while mentioning that he understands that this is not the position of the European Union, nor of the European Parliament.
Finally, he referred to the opposition’s strategy to confront the Venezuelan dictatorship. She affirmed that Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by more than 50 countries, did not fulfill his task, which in Machado’s opinion was to achieve the removal of Maduro from power and establish a government that would allow democracy to flourish in the country.
In part, she attributes the failure of this strategy to the fact that Juan Guaidó sought support from the so-called G4, which is the grouping of the four largest and most traditional parties in Venezuela. For Machado, that was a decision that distanced him from his objective.
“It is time for a great coalition and a great movement of citizens. But, in addition, of people who share a purpose which is the liberation of the country.”