Latest: China backs Venezuela for barring opposition figure from election, slams external pressure on Caracas
NBS Webdesk

China has backed Venezuela for excluding an opposition figure from elections, denouncing external pressure on Caracas.

The United States, France and Brazil have strongly criticized Venezuela for what they call exclusion of a key opposition figure from the South American country’s July presidential elections, a move that drew a response from ally China on Friday.

“We respect Venezuela’s national and sovereign independence, support Venezuela in advancing the election in accordance with its constitution and laws, and oppose external interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian at a press conference when asked about Beijing’s stance on the issue.

The opposition Democratic Unitary Platform (PUD) first proposed opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, who served as an elected member of the National Assembly of Venezuela from 2011 to 2014, but in late January, Venezuela’s Supreme Court upheld a 15-year ban on Machado, describing her as politically disqualified.

The PUD coalition, then, tapped 80-year-old Corina Yoris Villasana, a philosopher and politician, as the replacement for Machado, but by the time the deadline ended on Monday, the PUD was unable to access the website to register Villasana as a presidential candidate.

This is while Manuel Rosales, the governor of the oil-rich province of Zulia and a member of the PUD, managed to enroll last-minute as he attempted a last-ditch effort to avoid leaving the opposition without representation.

Rosales, however, is accused of being picked for his palatability to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. Rosales has strongly denied the accusation.

Nevertheless, after the expiration of the deadline, the PUD somehow did manage to enroll the name of Edmundo Gonzalez Urruti, a lesser-known former ambassador, as a “provisional candidate.”

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva denounced what they called a blockage during a joint press conference in the capital Brasilia.

“We very firmly condemn the exclusion of a serious and credible candidate from this process,” said Macron.

Lula, for his part, said there was “no legal or political explanation for banning an opponent from being a candidate.”

A day earlier, Washington had alleged that the electoral council only accepted “opposition candidates with whom Maduro and his representatives feel comfortable.”

The move ran “counter to competitive and inclusive elections that the Venezuelan people and international community will view as legitimate,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

The US imposed harsh sanctions on Venezuela to punish Maduro’s government following his 2018 re-election, which the US and other Western governments rejected as a “sham.”

Since 2019, US sanctions have banned state-run oil company PDVSA from exporting to its chosen markets.

Source: Presstv

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