Free and fair elections in Venezuela?

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro agreed (🇻🇪) during a meeting with opposition leaders yesterday (Tuesday) to ensure next year’s presidential election will be competitive.

Venezuela’s last election in 2018 was anything but. Its authorities:

Since then, heightened international pressure has failed to oust Maduro. So the opposition is again focused on beating him at the ballot box instead.

And in exchange for forthcoming US sanctions relief on his oil industry, Maduro agreed yesterday to allow international electoral observers, while pledging that parties can pick their own candidates and get fair media access.

Intrigue’s take: But why now? Laura Dib at the DC-based Washington Office for Latin America told Intrigue it comes down to money:

“After 2019, Maduro relied on Russia and China for support. But Russia has a war, and when Maduro went to China recently he came back empty-handed. Maduro needs [US] sanctions relief to get money into the country.”

Still, we (like Laura) have doubts Maduro’s assurances will result in free or fair electionsAs Laura put it, “Maduro has too much to lose.”

Also worth noting:

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