Daily Review: Venezuela’s Election Date Is Set

Daily Review: Venezuela’s Election Date Is Set
Maria Corina Machado holds the Venezuelan flag as she waves to her supporters after being named the winner of the opposition’s presidential primary election, Caracas, Venezuela, Oct. 23, 2023 (DPA photo by Jesus Vargas via AP Images).

Venezuelan officials announced yesterday that national elections will be held on July 28, partially fulfilling an agreement signed in October between the regime of President Nicolas Maduro, the country’s opposition and, unofficially, the United States. In that deal, the Venezuelan government agreed to hold an election this year, monitored by outside observers, in exchange for sanctions relief from Washington. (New York Times)

Our Take

This announcement comes at a time when the Venezuelan election deal is on life support. The Maduro regime has set an election date, but in January, the country’s high court upheld a ban on the candidacy of Maria Corina Machado, who won the opposition’s presidential primary in October. The ban, allegedly for fraud and tax violations, appears to violate another aspect of the election deal allowing both sides to choose their own candidates.

In response to the court’s decision, the U.S. pulled back some of the sanctions relief it had offered Venezuela last year, but notably kept in place relief on Venezuela’s oil and gas sectors, which is set to expire April 18. Whether the Biden administration chooses to reimpose those sanctions—thereby torpedoing the election deal once and for all—will likely depend on whether Machado’s candidacy is reinstated.

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