Edmundo González
Venezuelan opposition candidate Edmundo González AFP

Venezuela's main opposition leaders, presidential candidate Edmundo González Urrutia and top figure María Corina Machado, urged the military to accept the presidential elections' outcome as the date of the poll gets near.

"They must guard our Constitution and the people's sovereign decision," said González Urrutia in a statement in the context of the country's independence day, which took place on July 5.

"I call you to this new era that is set to begin in our country, one where you will have a relevant role again," González added. Machado, on her end, said the military will "have a front row seat to seeing the expression of people clamoring for freedom and who see in the polls a peaceful, democratic and constitutional way to do so."

The message holds an ulterior meaning, as many in the military are loyal to the Maduro government. He has given the sector a relevant role in Venezuela's civic and political life, as well as the control of key industries such as mining, oil and food distribution.

Infobae recalled that the current military salute begins with "Chávez vive!" (Chávez lives!), a reference to the late Hugo Chávez, who ruled the country between 1999 and 2013 and was a member of the military, leading a failed coup years before that ultimately led him to political prominence and a victory in the polls.

In fact, some analysts have speculated about the possibility that a military development jeopardizes the elections, as Venezuela has escalated its rhetoric and actions toward the claim of the Essequibo, a vast swath of territory controlled by Guyana but claimed by Caracas.

The army has deployed units and built infrastructure near the border, also conducting several drills. This has led Guyana to increase its level of alert, with the country's vice president, Bharrat Jagdeo, saying Georgetown is "highly attentive" to the latest developments and "working with allies" about it.

A recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies has discussed the possibility that president Nicolás Maduro will "manufacture" an escalation with its neighbor to secure his grip on power.

The report analyzes potential scenarios where the government could escalate tensions in its favor. It discusses using a sense of "militarized patriotism in peacetime" to increase its standing, noting the government has "saturated Venezuela with propagandist claims about Guyana's government and that any move by Guyana to bolster its defenses should be interpreted as an offensive preparation for war."

"In such a scenario of a post-election crisis, Venezuela's rhetoric risks crossing a Rubicon beyond which it cannot return without taking some kind of action against Guyana," the report concluded.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.