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Venezuelan opposition leader María Corina Machado accused President Nicolás Maduro of employing intimidation tactics against her and her supporters, the latest fight between the government and the opposition ahead of elections later this year, the BBC reported.
Machado alleged that two of her campaign coordinators were “abducted,” and her party’s offices were vandalized.
She claimed that these incidents directly violated a deal signed between the government and the opposition in Barbados in October, which aimed to pave the way for free and fair elections in 2024.
Under the agreement, the Venezuelan government would allow international observers to monitor the upcoming presidential vote, scheduled for the latter half of 2024. Officials also promised to guarantee that all election candidates would be able to move freely and safely across Venezuela.
In return, the United States would ease some of the economic sanctions against Venezuela’s oil sector.
But three months later, tensions between the two sides have continued to rise.
On Monday, Attorney-General Tarek William Saab announced the arrest of 32 individuals allegedly involved in a plot to assassinate Maduro and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.
The US, which supported the Barbados negotiations, expressed deep concern over the arrests, warning of potential consequences for actions contrary to the spirit of the agreement.
Meanwhile, questions remain about Machado’s eligibility in the upcoming elections.
In October, she overwhelmingly won an opposition primary vote, despite being banned from running for office.
The 56-year-old politician has since appealed against the ban, which she has consistently labeled as unjust and aimed at suppressing the opposition.
Maduro has yet to announce whether he will seek re-election or nominate a different candidate from his party.