Time for ‘Democratic Transition’ in Venezuela: Opposition Presidential Candidate

Thu Apr 25 2024
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CARACAS, Venezuela: Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia, a little-known Venezuelan diplomat and Republican opposition candidate to face President Nicolas Maduro in July polls, said on Wednesday that it was time for a “peaceful, democratic transition.”

Gonzalez, 74, was picked last week by opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, who is popular but banned from running by courts loyal to Maduro. The incumbent is seeking a third six-year term.

A political analyst and former ambassador to Algeria and Argentina, Gonzalez, will represent the Democratic Unitary Platform (PUD) opposition coalition.

At his home in Caracas, Gonzalez said: “It is time for a peaceful democratic transition for Venezuelans,” after 25 years of Chavismo, the brand of populist leftist ideology championed by the late president Hugo Chavez and inherited by Maduro.


“This is my contribution to the democratic cause…. This is my contribution to unity, to the struggle for a democratic transition,” he said, insisting: “I have no personal aspirations,” Gonzalez, unaccustomed to the limelight, said.

He said he was not afraid of embracing this new, unexpected role.

“I never, never, never imagined I would be in this position, but that is secondary to the challenge ahead,” he added.

He still refers to Machado as “the leader of the opposition” and “the leader of this unitary process.”

Machado who remains country’s most popular opposition figure, and won a primary election last in October with a convincing majority, has been banned from public office for 15 years by courts loyal to Maduro on corruption charges she says are bogus.

She is also accused of conspiring against her country for supporting Western sanctions against the regime.

The diplomat was chosen unanimously by an opposition coalition last Friday.

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