Venezuela bans opposition leader from public office for 15 years

Maria Corina Machado greets supporters on June 23, 2023, in Caracas, Venezuela. (Ariana Cubillos/The Associated Press) (Ariana Cubillos, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MIAMI – María Corina Machado, one of the few opposition leaders left in Venezuela, won’t be able to hold public office for 15 years, the troubled country’s officials announced on Friday.

Comptroller General Elvis Amoroso, an ally of Venezuelan autocratic President Nicolás Maduro, released a statement accusing Machado, 55, of corruption without listing any evidence.

Machado, a former congresswoman with the Vente Venezuela political party, hasn’t been in office since 2014 — when officials banned her from office for about a year.

Amoroso accused Machado of conspiring with Juan Guaidó, the former leader of the National Assembly and U.S.-recognized interim president.

Machado, an industrial engineer by training, tweeted in Spanish that the ban will only motivate her to continue to rebel against Maduro’s regime.

Maduro has been in office since 2013 when his predecessor and mentor Hugo Chávez died — after being in power since 1999.

Maduro was reelected in 2018 and he is expected to run for reelection in 2024.

Machado is scheduled to present her economic plan to bondholders who will meet on July 18 at the Americas Society Council of the Americas headquarters in New York City, Bloomberg reported.

After his arrival at Miami-Dade County, Guaidó reported there was orchestrated corruption at every level of government, and Maduro and his supporters had hunted down opposition leaders.

Machado reported having registered to run during the primary on Oct. 22. She has campaigned as an advocate of privatizing Petróleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company.

Benjamín Rausseo, a comedian and attorney, who is also campaigning against Machado and Maduro, released a statement on Twitter. saying he strongly rejects the decision to disqualify Machado.

“In the country that I dream of and for which I fight, only the sentence of an INDEPENDENT court would disqualify a citizen,” Rausseo wrote in Spanish. “Let the people choose.” archives

Interview with Machado in 2019

Interview with Guaido earlier this year in Doral

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.