Thirteen UN employees who were expelled from Venezuela by Nicolás
Manuel Rosales dropped out of the presidential race to support Edmundo Gonzalez Pedro Rances Mattey/AFP

A high-ranking opposition member in Venezuela said the Maduro government will need "guarantees" if it were to ever consider leaving power in the country following an electoral defeat in the July elections.

According to Infobae, Manuel Rosales said that "guarantees after the elections for both sides is the way for Venezuela to recover peace."

Rosales was among the few who was allowed to sign up for the presidential elections. His name was among those considered to become the opposition's candidate after the ban of Maria Corina Machado, who easily won a broad primary last year, and that of her stand-in candidate, Corina Yoris.

However, Rosales' name was met with skepticism by many due to his perceived friendliness with the current government. "Don't drop out, Manuel, I'll wait for you on July 28," recently said Maduro when the opposition was still considering its next move.

Rosales, however, eventually dropped out of the race and endorsed Edmundo González Urrutia, a little-known diplomat who has gone on to become the opposition's main hope for change in years.

The former candidate added that he expects an "asymmetrical war, a dirty one" from the government, but claimed it can "definitely be defeated." "We'll get an important victory because the political, economic and social situation in the country cannot be hidden."

Manuel Rosales
Manuel Rosales AFP

Nonetheless, he went back to emphasizing the need for dialogue in the case of a Gonzalez win. "Dreams of an army coming to save us have not served us. That's why I like our candidates' message about going through a path of peace, of reunion and away from persecution, vengeance and violence," he added.

Gonzalez has delegated the campaigning on Maria Corina Machado, who enjoys high levels of popularity and has been on the trail for years. The opposition is determined to compete, as a poll from mid-April shows that over four in five Venezuelans don't want Maduro to remain in power (81%), with only 10% wanting him to do so and 9% saying they don't know.

Four in ten Venezuelans would consider leaving the country if Maduro were to be reelected, with only 16% expressing their desire to remain in the country in that scenario, the poll added.

Meanwhile, as the campaign continues, the opposition and international organizations have denounced the unlawful detention of political activists. "Since December 2023 we've recorded an alarming increase in enforced disappearances, affecting citizens exercising their right to freedom of speech and association," a group of experts from the UN said in late April. They added that most victims are members of the opposition parties and military members.

"As the country gets ready for the July presidential elections, these disappearances could have a dissuasive effect and hamper the people's rights to vote freely," the statement added. One of the most recent cases took place last weekend, when three political activists were detained over the weekend in the state of Portuguesa following a visit by Maria Corina Machado.

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