Who is María Corina Machado, the liberal who was elected to confront the Nicolás Maduro regime in 2024

María Corina Machado Venezuela

María Corina Machado won the opposition primary in Venezuela by a wide margin and, if the regime finally confirms the electoral calendar, she will be the unitary candidate of the entire opposition in the 2024 presidential elections.

Industrial engineer, finance specialist from the Institute of Higher Studies in Administration and graduate of the world leaders in public policy program at Yale University, Machado has a long history in Venezuelan politics.

Her foray into the subject occurred 23 years ago, although it took two years to become widely known. her first steps were in 2002, when he co-founded the non-governmental organization Súmate, which ensured electoral transparency and citizen participation.

From the first moment, Machado, 56, made clear her anti-Chavista stance and his determination to put an end to his corruption and management. Thus, in 2004 from Súmate he promoted the collection of some four million signatures for the recall referendum against the then president Hugo Chávez.

In 2010, with the highest number of votes among legislators, she was elected deputy to the National Assembly for the state of Miranda and took office a year later.The former opposition deputy and Venezuelan presidential candidate, María Corina Machado, was registered this Sunday, October 22, when voting in the opposition primary elections, in Caracas (Venezuela).  EFE/Miguel Gutiérrez
The former opposition deputy and Venezuelan presidential candidate, María Corina Machado, was registered this Sunday, October 22, when voting in the opposition primary elections, in Caracas (Venezuela). EFE/Miguel Gutiérrez

Then, in 2012, she founded the Vente Venezuela party – which she still maintains – and ran as a candidate in the presidential primaries organized by the Democratic Unity Roundtable – then an alliance of opposition parties – although her performance was poor. She came in third place with just 3.81% of the votes, compared to Henrique Capriles, the Primero Justice candidate, who she won with 64.33 percent.

This, however, did not stop her in her fight against Chavismo and in demanding the restitution of democratic order in the country, and in February 2014 she called for a wave of protests known as “The Exit.” This initiative was organized by the founder of the Voluntad Popular party, Leopoldo López, and by Antonio Ledezma, from Alianza al Bravo Pueblo, and gained such magnitude that it continued until June of that year.

While these demonstrations were taking place, in March, Machado accepted the position of Panama’s alternate ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), from which she denounced the regime’s atrocities and human rights violations before the Permanent Council.

However, this decision cost him his position in the Assembly, an action that the ruling party justified with accusations of treason and assassination plans that, to this day, continue to raise questions.

Since then, the leader of Vente Venezuela has been the subject of dozens of attempts by the Chavista regime to silence her and leave her off the political board. For example, a court prohibited her from leaving the country as a precautionary measure while the aforementioned investigation, which has already been going on for nine years, is underway.

She also does not enjoy free movement within the territory since many airlines refuse to let her board. This was exposed in his recent campaign, in which he toured the streets of various cities, always aboard a vehicle.

Furthermore, in recent months, the regime played an important card: it disqualified her from holding public office for 15 years due to alleged errors and omissions in her sworn declarations of assets. The measure sought to leave her out of the electoral race since if she were the winner, she would not be able to compete next year.

But Machado has not left the campaign; On the contrary, he assured that he would continue her path with more strength and “until the end.” her proposal, if he reaches the Miraflores Palace, includes a free market plan, with support for private property and the rule of law, far from the socialist ideals that govern the country.Venezuelans residing in 28 countries registered to participate in the opposition primaries.  (EFE/José Jácome)
Venezuelans residing in 28 countries registered to participate in the opposition primaries. (EFE/José Jácome)

It also proposes a massive program of mixed investments in aspects such as infrastructure, public goods and education that allow the country to achieve fiscal and monetary stability, as well as a business privatization program. This includes the much-questioned state oil company PDVSA.

Finally, it undertakes to restore economic, legal and social guarantees, and to restore the complete democratic order.

Massive participation

“Come on, old lady!” shouted Machado’s followers with a typical expression of celebration in Venezuela, as the scrutiny of the tables in a center located in a commercial neighborhood of Caracas ended. Unlike the automated electoral system that governs elections organized by the authorities, the counting in the opposition primary was manual.

“Until the end! “Long live Venezuela!” Nilsa Correa, 53, celebrated, using Machado’s slogan. “She goes to the end, that disqualification is a lie (…) and she will overcome that.”

The primary is held five days after the signing of an agreement within a negotiation process between the government and opposition, which set the presidential elections for the second half of next year with observation by the European Union and other international actors.

The United States responded by easing oil sanctions against the country for six months, although it conditioned it on the lifting of disqualifications, a thorny issue on which Chavismo does not want to give in.

“We are being part of a citizen history and what we have seen today is a citizen avalanche inside and outside Venezuela,” Machado said in a press conference prior to the announcement of results.

The primary was also held in 28 countries.

With information from AFP