The Venezuelan opponent, Maria Corina Machado (Caracas, 1967) was one of the women who most stood up to Hugo Chávez. You will remember her when she questioned the former president in the National Assembly and he ordered her to shut up. But although they have tried to silence and disable her politically, she remains firm in Venezuela fighting to remove Nicolás Maduro from power. His combative and radical style It has cost him detractors, especially in the ranks of the opposition itself. Today he speaks with ABC without restrictions about the elections of 21-N, the role of Borrell and the interim government of Juan Guaidó.
The extradition of Álex Saab to the United States has generated certain expectations for what he can confess about the Nicolás regime
Maduro Do you think he will speak?
Mr. Saab has acted as a hinge between the Maduro regime and actors such as Iran, Turkey, China, Russia, as well as with organized crime networks and, it must be said, with actors who have called themselves ‘opposition’. It is indisputable that Saab has an invaluable amount of information to expose the criminal nature of the regime and its allies. I do not want to speculate, but Maduro has moved and has his family here (in Venezuela), surely seeking to use them as hostages so that Saab does not say what he knows.
Precisely because of this extradition, the dictatorship rose from the negotiating table in Mexico. Could anything positive come out of these dialogues?
A successful resolution of the conflict in Venezuela is possible through negotiation. But not this. With the same conditions and the same actors, a different result cannot be achieved. It is evident that the balance of forces that are exposed in Mexico is unfavorable for the democratic strength of the country. I believe in a negotiation that seeks the freedom of Venezuela, not cohabitation with tyranny. The purpose must be to dismantle a mafia power structure, not to get better conditions to go to an election. This process of dialogue favored the regime and they already obtained what they wanted, which was its recognition with the signing of the memorandum of understanding.
The opposition says there are no conditions to go to elections, what is the point of participating then?
Wait, what opposition?
The Unitary Platform …
A sector of the opposition will want to say … that in my opinion they have already given up because when those parties say they are going to participate in the elections, what are they looking for in Mexico? N-21 is a well-calculated operation by tyranny to set us back on what we have achieved in the last two years of struggle. We made the world assume that this is not a dictatorship but a complex, adaptive and perverse criminal system, and that Maduro was not recognized as president.
What does Maria Corina propose to get out of Maduro?
It is not an easy option and we have also tried it. It is to assume that we are facing kidnappers. How is this situation resolved – he asks himself – by surrounding them, isolating them and creating the conditions for them to have incentives to leave power. The mechanisms of intelligence entry into the country, an arms embargo and be more aggressive in cutting off sources of illegal financing can be stopped.
After more than two years of interim government, how do you value the management of Juan Guaidó at the head of the opposition?
I was one of the first to promote the formation of an interim government because its objective was to dismantle the tyranny to start a transition process. Guaidó had the greatest historical opportunity we have had to displace Maduro and his regime: all the popular support, from the political parties and the international support. He had everything and unfortunately he did not manage to kick Maduro out. The interim government destroyed it itself. It’s a tragedy.
In the first place, because we have had a political leadership that has been erratic, contradictory and weak and that has been transmitted to a society that does not feel represented. The second, due to its opacity in the management of resources. If something has destroyed Venezuela, it is the monumental corruption of the regime, which is why it is inconceivable that there is no transparency. Far from processing the lawsuits, it has attacked those who have requested it. We have requested accountability through the 16-J faction in Parliament and we have been rejected. And the third reason is because of their meetings. I many times told Guaidó “lean on the people.” Unfortunately, he chose to surround himself with the G-4 structure, which assumed the representation of the Venezuelan opposition.
Is Juan Guaidó’s figure worn out?
Let’s get back to the facts. The interim government and Juan Guaidó emerged from the support of an elected National Assembly. Do you have those votes today? I do not believe it.
Should Guaidó resign?
The country demands the construction of a different political leadership. That obsession that there has to be a messiah or a person who decides is a mistake. This is not the time for political parties, it is the time of the citizen.
Guaidó and López have been questioned for the alleged irregular handling of assets abroad, including those of the Monómeros company. What is your opinion on this issue?
It is one of the events that has produced the most rejection in Venezuelans because if we reject something it is the corruption of the regime and its practice of pointing out when a complaint is made. It is very unfortunate that this is being reproduced in the interim. What is being done with Humberto Calderón Berti, who has a very long career as a public servant, and has never been singled out. On the contrary, he is recognized as a proven and upright person, so that pointing him out because of the complaint he made is inconceivable. If Mr. López wants to go to court, it is his right and it may be the way to respond and clarify so many demands that have been made to him and the interim government regarding the management of these funds.
Let’s talk now about the High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell, do you think he is trying to whitewash Maduro?
The role of the High Representative is very regrettable because it is not the first time. There have been multiple Borrell positions that clearly seek to give Maduro’s tyranny legitimacy and stability. It is clear to me that this is not the position of Europe. I must say that the European Parliament has become the great platform for denouncing the systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela.
Were you able to meet with the EU exploratory mission when you went to Venezuela?
When it was decided that the observation mission would come, I immediately asked to meet with it. It was very difficult. Some people told me that they came with instructions not to listen to us. However, the technicians met with us.
What did they talk about?
I explained to them the barbarity in technical electoral terms, the seriousness of the total absence of the rule of law and, of course, how life is today in Venezuela. I clearly told them that Maduro’s purpose is to use them to legitimize himself and what they were going to gain is for them to lose credibility.
Why do you think Borrell hid the mission report?
We ran a campaign to ask where the report was. We collected signatures and sent them to Mr. Borrell’s office requesting that the conclusions of the report be made public. It is unfortunate that some bureaucrats override the opinions of the technicians. I insist: they hurt Venezuela, but they also hurt the European Union.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism