Venezuelan Opposition Candidate Edmundo González Urrutia Confident in Defeating Maduro

By LG Staff

By LG Staff

June 3, 2024

Edmundo González Urrutia, a 74-year-old former diplomat, has emerged from retirement to embark on a unique political journey in Venezuela’s modern history.

Following the disqualifications of opposition leaders María Corina Machado and Corina Yoris, González Urrutia was selected by the Democratic Unitary Platform to lead the opposition against President Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro seeks re-election in the July 28 election, despite his 25-year tenure marked by widespread allegations of corruption and human rights abuses both domestically and internationally.

“This situation was unexpected and not something I sought out. I decided to run as my contribution to solving Venezuela’s problems and supporting its democracy. It was a decision made with my family’s support,” González Urrutia told Noticias Telemundo.

Although not as well-known as Machado (a former congresswoman and founder of the Vente Venezuela party), González Urrutia has become a unifying figure for Venezuelans frustrated by a prolonged economic crisis, including severe inflation (193% in 2023 alone).

“When I accepted the proposal to run, I insisted on the unanimous backing of all parties in the Democratic Unitary Platform. And that’s what happened. All the parties unanimously supported my candidacy before the CNE,” he said.

Recent polls indicate this support is resonating with voters: polling firms like Meganalisis and Datincorp show him with significant backing, ranging from 50% to 61.1%.

However, experts caution that the winning candidate will face significant challenges, including insecurity and a lack of democratic guarantees.

María Puerta-Riera, a political science professor at Valencia College in Florida, believes the opposition can win, stating, “People are fed up and willing to support any opposition candidate.”

“The issue is that the government has previously disregarded election results and is prepared to go to great lengths to stay in power,” she added.

Since January, the government has arrested and imprisoned 10 opposition members, and NGOs like Foro Penal report 274 political prisoners in the country. The International Criminal Court is investigating Maduro and other officials for alleged crimes against humanity, including forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, and torture during 2017 protests that resulted in 125 deaths.

Despite the challenging political environment, González Urrutia remains undeterred and plans an extensive electoral campaign.

“I plan to participate in many of the rallies being organized across the country,” he stated.

Nevertheless, analysts like Puerta-Riera highlight the dangers facing any opposition candidate.

“It’s important to recognize that the government will use all its formal and informal powers to prevent his victory,” she noted. “They will likely use police to persecute and monitor him, and armed informal groups may also be deployed. It’s doubtful they will allow him to campaign freely.”

Share this post: