Venezuela’s leader refuses substitute opposition candidate.

Venezuela Opposition Candidate Maria Corina Machado Rejects Possibility of Substitute Amid Supreme Court Ban

Caracas: Venezuelan opposition candidate Maria Corina Machado announced on Monday that she would not step aside in favor of a substitute, despite a recent ruling by the country’s supreme court upholding a ban preventing her from holding office. The court’s decision, issued last Friday, prohibits Machado, a 56-year-old industrial engineer, from registering for the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for later this year. The court justified its ruling by stating that Machado supported U.S. sanctions, was involved in corruption, and had incurred financial losses related to Venezuela’s foreign assets.

Machado firmly stated, “There is no retreat. We have a mandate, and we will complete it,” during a press conference in Caracas. She dismissed the idea of a substitute candidate, declaring it as a plan by those who oppose change, while emphasizing that her plan is centered on bringing about change.

Machado labeled the court’s ruling as a “judicial crime” and acknowledged that there will be numerous obstacles to overcome. However, she remained confident that elections would still take place this year. It is worth noting that the United States had linked the continuation of sanctions relief to the release of “wrongfully detained” Americans and the removal of bans on several opposition figures, as part of an electoral deal signed in Barbados last October. In December, Venezuela released 24 of its citizens and 10 Americans in exchange for the freedom of a Maduro official and the extradition of a wanted Malaysian businessman.

The State Department announced on Saturday that the U.S. is reviewing its sanctions policy. Analysts predict that the U.S. may partially reinstate sanctions following the court’s ruling. BancTrust & Co, in a note on Monday, anticipated a partial reinstatement of the sanctions regime, stating that full reinstatement was unlikely due to the ineffectiveness of sanctions in promoting political change.

While relaxations on bond trading are expected to remain, JPMorgan economists expressed uncertainty regarding the relaxation of oil sanctions due to economic benefits for both countries, high migration of Venezuelans to the U.S., and conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

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