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Pre-election political uncertainty in Venezuela

On 26 March, Venezuela's opposition coalition, the Unitary Democratic Platform, announced they had registered former diplomat Edmundo González Urrutia as their candidate for the country’s presidential election in July. Urrutia, however, is only a placeholder, selected after the Unitary Democratic Platform’s preferred candidate was reportedly blocked from registering. The opposition said it would replace Urrutia once it was able to register another candidate. Whoever ends up on the ballot will be a substitute for opposition leader María Corina Machado, who has been barred by the government of President Nicolás Maduro from holding public office. Maduro agreed to hold democratic elections in exchange for relief from US-led sanctions, but has continued to crack down on civil society and political opponents. NGOs have not been spared. In September 2023, Maduro’s government ousted the president of the Red Cross in the country. The move was widely interpreted as part of a larger effort to limit and control the organisation’s activities. The climate of repression has hampered the ability of NGOs to respond in a country where one in five people are in need of humanitarian aid. To understand the impact of Maduro’s policies on humanitarian aid, read: In Venezuela, Maduro’s squeeze on NGOs threatens humanitarian aid

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