María Corina Machado: We Must Eradicate Criminality in Venezuela from the Roots Up

It is not merely enough to remove Maduro from power; Venezuela must entirely eradicate the criminal mafias that have thrived under the direction of the Chavista dictatorship.

Half measures are not enough: Venezuela must entirely eliminate the powerful criminal networks that have thrived with Maduro and Chavez (Facebook).

By María Corina Machado

Venezuelans know the historical responsibility we face in these hours. The defeat of the tyranny installed here will not only shape the lives of millions of Venezuelans, many of whom have not yet been born, it will also be crucial for the destiny of other countries in our hemisphere, starting with Colombia, the next country in sight of this criminal state.

Therefore, to expel the Maduro regime from power with urgency is as important as the depth and scope of that change. We are clear that it is not enough to remove Maduro: we must rip out the roots of the criminal networks that have penetrated all the organs of state institutions and of Venezuelan society.

This is how the struggle in Venezuela differs from that of the defeat of a traditional dictatorship. In a criminal state it is not enough to merely remove the dictator and his authoritarian environment, we must dismantle transnational illegal financing networks, demolish their sources of power within the system, and expel every last foreign criminal from Venezuelan territory.

Of course, a process of this complexity and scope does not happen overnight, and will require significant technological, financial, and operational assistance from our external democratic allies, who know that liberating Venezuela from the clutches of criminal networks and the anti-Western world is a priority for hemispheric security.

Although this task will require months and it will fall on the shoulders of the democratic government elected during the transition, the composition of this interim government will be decisive if the change in Venezuela is to be real and definitive, and not only a superficial and temporary readjustment.

Faced with desperation to remove Maduro, some may be tempted to accept any arrangement that consists of getting rid of Maduro and establishing a pact with sectors of the regime whose criminal records are proven. Is it conceivable to share power with members of the Cartel of the Suns? Or with members of the organizations that carried out the most obscene financial frauds and scams in history: the structured notes, preferential currency exchange, and illegal bonds of the republic? Is it possible to lay the foundations of the democratic transition with the most powerful “criminals within the law”, with perpetrators of crimes against humanity or with the leaders of paramilitary bands?

Believing that individuals closely intertwined with global mafias will facilitate a transition process marked by justice, the end of impunity, honesty and restitution of stolen resources, solidarity and respect for human rights, the free market and the end of state interventionism; is deeply naive and irresponsible.

The mistakes of Nicaragua were too close and too recent in our memories to not understand that if the Sandinistas returned there in a few years, here in Venezuela, if these criminal networks, flush with money and reveling in powerful international ties, are not taken out by the roots, they will return in a much shorter time period, to retake all positions of power.

A transitional government must be very broad politically and socially, include all sectors of the nation and govern wit firmness and humility. But this transitional government must constitute a break with crime and corruption in a radical way, or it will not win the confidence of the Venezuelan people.

Over the course of these 20 years of epic struggle, we have learned and grown admirably as citizens and as a society. We have understood that it is an existential and spiritual conquest. The mistakes we have made, underestimating the cruelty and complexity of the system, have meant the prolongation of the agony, and the regime has rained down death upon us. No more.

We will advance along a courageous path, for the definitive liberation of Venezuela.

We are close. Now it’s time to complete the mission.


This letter was originally published at

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