Venezuela: Edmundo Gonzalez to Become Opposition Candidate

Presidential elections will be held in July 2024

The United Democratic Platform (PUD), a coalition of various opposition parties in Venezuela, has announced the candidate who will challenge Nicolas Maduro in the elections on July 28, 2024.

The name chosen is that of former ambassador to Argentina Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia, who will replace opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, banned from holding public office for 15 years by Venezuela’s Supreme Court in January.

“Venezuela and democrats around the world, I want to give the Venezuelan people some great news: the United Democratic Platform unanimously endorsed Ambassador Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia as the candidate of unity, supported by all factors,” said PUD Secretary Omar Barboza.

These months leading up to the elections were particularly troubling, with the opposition repeatedly claiming obstacles to a smooth electoral process. First of all, the PUD considers Machado’s disqualification illegal, then there were reported problems with the designated replacement registering in the list. A situation that led the USA to newly tighten oil sanctions, which were eased after an electoral agreement with Maduro.

Venezuela is experiencing a deep economic crisis that in recent years has led a quarter of the population, some 8 million people, to leave the country in search of better living conditions. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), by September 2023, 7.7 million Venezuelans have emigrated due to the economic, social, and political crisis. 6.6 million of them have been admitted to Latin America and the Caribbean, and more than one million have requested refugee status.