Top Story — Venezuelan opposition leader María Corina Machado, who is running for Congress in December elections, has been barred from public office for a full year in a move opposition figures are calling heavy-handed.
“They’re acting like the dictators they are,” tweeted Machado, who was a leader of protests that rocked Venezuela last spring. She has said she will appeal the decision.
The reasons for barring Machado from office are still unclear, but in the past the country’s comptroller’s office has barred candidates from office for reportedly abusing public funds. Jailed opposition mayor of San Cristóbal, the epicenter of last year’s protests, was also barred from office this month for allegedly failing to submit a sworn wealth declaration.
Machado is a prominent hardline critic of Venezuela’s socialist government and President Nicolás Maduro. Government supporters characterize her as part of the country’s isolated elite, and the state prosecutor’s office has previously alleged that she conspired to assassinate the president — a claim she fervently denies.
The announcement could strip Machado of her congressional seat if she wins in December elections, which Machado has characterized as “elections under a dictatorship.”
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