Venezuela faced an economic disaster. Wages have stagnated, the currency is diving and inflation again becoming a headache for millions in the troubling country.
Meanwhile the opposition has yet to find a candidate credible to challenge the government of President Nicolás Maduro, the successor of former president Hugo Chavez, in upcoming elections.
The dictator is facing deep economic and financial troubles with sanctions imposed during former administration Donald Trump targeting the already decayed Venezuelan oil industry. Though a new license from with US OFAC with Chevron (an agreement approved by Biden administration) may allow it to recover its frozen oil production.
The radical young opposition has attempted to overthrow the government after the failed interim presidency of Juan Guaido, formerly a member of the radical party Voluntad Popular. Guaido is now in exile in the US having lost all the political support and momentum.
The Venezuelan opposition seems little prepared for the next general elections. Which at present have no certain date either this year or in 2024 depending on the will of the government and the official electoral body.
The opposition has been dominated by two different candidates, one is the radical right wing politician Maria Corina Machado, a vocal staunch rival of the government and advocating for radical measures to overthrow the Revolution.
The other is a widely known comedian, lawyer and business executive Benjamin Rausseo, who is running for the second time.
Analyst suggest that Rausseo, may be supported behind the scenes by the government to diffuse and confuse the electorate. Similar accusations were leveled in the last election by candidate Henrique Capirles Radonsky. Radonsky may have lost what’s left of a political capital he once had after failing to claim fraud in the last presidential elections of 2013.
Maduro won the election by a surprisingly narrow margin.
“The candidacy of the popular comedian dubbed El Conde del Guacharo Benjamin Rausseo seen as an outsider brings likely more disequilibrium to the aspirations of the traditional political opposition and creates more unity within the monolithic structure of the government and followers of Nicolás Maduro,” said the political scientist Leandro Rodriguez Linarez, a political scientist in Venezuela.
The upcoming primaries of the opposition will be critical to see who will emerge as next candidate to face Maduro in 2024 presidential elections.