Amid the risk that Maduro will not respect “free” elections in Venezuela, Petro met with a delegation from the Biden government

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President Gustavo Petro and United States Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer

This Monday, February 5, the President of the Republic Gustavo Petro held a high-level meeting at the Casa de Nariño with a delegation of the Joe Biden government of the United States.

The meeting came amid threats from Nicolás Maduro not to honor agreements to allow free and democratic elections in Venezuela.

At the meeting, as reported by Casa de Nariño, were United States Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer; White House Advisor for the Western Hemisphere, Juan González, and, on behalf of the national government, Carlos Ramón González, Director of the Department of the Presidency of the Republic, and the Colombian President.

Biden’s delegation will seek President Petro’s good standing due to his good relations with Nicolás Maduro in order to guarantee free and democratic elections in the neighboring country.

Nicolas Maduro, the top leader of the regime in Venezuela, assured on Sunday, February 4, within the framework of a massive celebration for the anniversary of the failed coup attempt led by Hugo Chavez in 1992, that he will win the 2024 presidential elections.

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However, what caused the most controversy in his speech was that he indicated he would win the election “however or not”, which was a message against democracy in the South American country.

This, without specifying which mechanism he was referring to in his statement with the controversial phrase “by hook or by crook”. “It’s been said, I won’t say anything more,” Maduro said.

Maduro’s statement came at a large gathering of his followers held at the Miraflores palace.

In Colombia, reactions were immediate. Catherine Miranda, representative of the chamber of the Green Alliance Party, asked the government of President Gustavo Petro to speak out, rejecting what the Venezuelan president said.

“I can’t believe Colombia’s silence after these statements by Maduro, who says he will be re-elected no matter what. Democrats must reject this,” Miranda said.

Maduro’s controversial statement comes days after the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) confirmed the political disqualification against opposition leader María Corina Machado, who is running for president in this year’s presidential elections despite her coalition easily winning the primaries. Will create obstacles to participate.

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Machado was disqualified for one year in 2015 for participating as Panama’s “alternate ambassador” to a meeting of the Organization of American States, where he participated in protests calling for Maduro’s “departure” that year. Condemned the alleged human rights violations and released 40. dead. But last June, at the height of his primary campaign, the clearance was extended for 15 years.

The Political-Administrative Chamber of the TSJ validated the arguments of the Comptroller’s Office to sanction the 56-year-old liberal politician for being a “participant in a corruption conspiracy” linked to Juan Guaidó, the leader recognized as president by the United States. Between 2019 and 2023, with the management of blocked resources overseas.

Machado, who denies the allegations, also says she was “never” informed about the administrative act and was unable to defend herself. The opposition delegation at the negotiating table demanded a reversal of the decision and announced that it would condemn the position of Norway as well as the governments involved in the negotiation process.

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The opposition leader said she would continue her candidacy despite the disqualification imposed by Chavismo and told the president the best thing he could do was sit down with her and negotiate.

“They cannot elect without me (…). They are going to make every effort to stop my candidature. Nicolás Maduro is not going to choose the people’s candidate, because the people have already chosen who their candidate is,” María Corina Machado said at a press conference.

The United States’ response was forceful, though not precise: it reminded the Maduro government of the deadline to comply with the terms of democratic elections; If this does not happen then economic sanctions against Venezuela will be reinstated.

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