Opposition leader María Corina Machado. (Image: World Economic Forum, CC BY-SA 2.0 )
Andes, Latin America: Week in Review, Venezuela

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Barred From Office

July 15, 2015 By Staff

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.”

Just Published in Latin America News Dispatch


  • The new Mariel Port located just west of Havana, Cuba has attracted the first foreign, private companies to establish operations in the country, as the government continues efforts to stimulate Cuba’s lagging economy.
  • U.S. officials seized over 1,300 pounds of Totoaba fish bladders, an endangered species, in Puerto Rico from inside packages that were en route from Venezuela to Hong Kong.
  • Gang members in Haiti, known as the baz, could be valuable resources to the redevelopment of their country, according to a piece in The Guardian, which explores how the baz maintains peace, order and provides materials in the depleted capital city of Port-au-Prince.

Central America

  • A report by The Tico Times investigates the plight of migrant children from Central American countries — in particular Guatemala — who are detained in the United States after crossing the border, and where U.S. advocates campaign for better treatment on their behalf.


  • Bolivian officials signed an agreement with a Chinese engineering company to build a potassium salts plant worth $178 million in the center of southwestern Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s most expansive salts flat.
  • A seven-year-old Colombian girl, missing in a national park for 18 days, has been found alive in an abandoned hut in the Colombian jungle after a massive search by authorities.

Southern Cone

  • Brazilian police officers on Tuesday executed 53 search warrants in business headquarters, government offices and private homes — including two belonging to former President, and now-Sen. Fernando Collor de Mello — related to the ongoing investigation into a massive corruption scheme at oil giant Petrobras.

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