Venezuela Socialists' election
strategy? Block adversaries
public office for 15 years looked like an unusually brazen blow at the opposition
but is just the logical extension of a strategy that has emerged as the last, best hope
of President Nicolas Maduro's Socialists for maintaining power.
Leopoldo Lopez, who in polls remains one of the most influential opposition
leaders despite being jailed three years ago for his role in anti-government protests.
Manuel Galindo, accused by the opposition of being a government puppet, to
clear the playing field of potential challengers. The election, still unscheduled,
must be held by the end of 2018.
shortages, but so far the opposition has failed to find a way around the
Socialists' domination of the top court and other state institutions that have
found one excuse after another to sideline them.
signaled as much.
tomorrow they'll come for you," he said, in reference to high-profile legislator
Henry Ramos and deputy congress chief Freddy Guevara.
who is currently the head of congress, and Henry Falcon, the governor of the
central state of Lara who defected from the Socialist Party.
or Lopez, and all could be subject to disqualification.
seeking to rile up crowds to prepare the ground for a foreign intervention
in Venezuela, home to the world's largest crude reserves.
organisms harshly criticized the ban on Capriles, though they may lack
leverage to get Venezuela to reverse it.
rights," said Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of
American States, who has called for sanctions against Venezuela if it
does not hold elections.
which increasingly appear to be the only option available as they see
themselves at growing risk of being sidelined.
including the armed forces and the Supreme Court, which briefly assumed
the powers of the opposition-led Congress in March before backtracking
in the face of international condemnation.
ubiquitous supermarket lines and constant scrambles to find food and
medicine. Few economists expect a short-term improvement to the situation
because Maduro's government has repeatedly avoided reform measures such
as lifting the exchange controls that could bring back economic stability.
opposition parties to "revalidate" themselves through
petition drives in which they must collect a minimum
number of signatures or be dissolved.
signatures to remain on the rolls, but they could still
be eliminated if the council in the coming months
discards significant numbers of signatures as it has
in past petition drives.
the dissolution of the opposition's Democratic Unity coalition, which could
leave Maduro's adversaries without a party platform in the 2018 vote.
has not set a date for state governors' elections that were supposed to take place
aloud who will be able to run in it.
will be exiled, some of us will be detained, some of us will be disqualified,"
said Guevara, the legislator, in a recent press conference.