A tireless freedom fighter, and an inspiring human being. This could serve as a brief description of María Corina Machado, a former Venezuelan deputy and fierce opponent of the regime of Hugo Chávez and his ideological successors.
Beaten by Chavista officials, a victim of threats towards her and her family, insulted and vilified on innumerable occasions, Machado now stands falsely accused and indicted for “conspiracy,” and “plotting the murder” of the dictator Nicolás Maduro. Make no mistake — Maduro is a dictator, and no president.
Machado has confronted all of this and more by relying on her principles, as always, without surrendering or negotiating with dictatorships or morally bankrupt politicians.
On December 3, the attorney general charged Machado with the crime of conspiracy, as per article 123 of the Penal Code. It says that “anyone who, within or outside national territory, conspires to destroy the republican political form that has been given to the nation will be punished with a jail sentence of 8 to 16 years.”
Dictators regularly demand that others comply with the same laws that they themselves flout. If anyone in Venezuela has conspired to destroy the democratic form of the government, it’s Nicolás Maduro. One day, those being judged — and with unlimited evidence available — will be those who currently defend this dictatorship, fundamentally modeled on the Castroist regime in Cuba.
If anyone in Venezuela has conspired to destroy the democratic form of the government, it’s Nicolás Maduro.
It’s almost laughable that such despots attempt to deploy the concept of the “republic,” so damaged by them, in their own defense. That the Venezuelan dictatorship should view themselves as protecting a republic is farcical, but it shows the way in which the many Venezuelan people have been fooled into thinking of themselves as free.
In reality, it’s obvious that Nicolás Maduro enjoys unlimited power, has no respect for individual rights, and wasn’t elected by the people of Venezuela, given that the polls were manipulated beyond all recognition by Chavista influence. Maduro wasn’t chosen by the people; he was chosen by Fidel Castro.
It’s now clearer than ever that Chavismo has always wanted to silence any voice as strong, clear, and truthful as that of María Corina Machado. If raising awareness and calling for an oppressed, unfree people to fight back is to “conspire,” then we should all be busy plotting.
Throwing opposition politicians in jail for “treason” is a favored pastime of every dictatorship, but the real betrayal here is by the Chavista empire of lies. In this way, they’ve silenced Leopoldo López, and many others. Now they want to do the same to María Corina, but they won’t be able to. We won’t let them.
Dictatorships aren’t forever. Nor is the Venezuelan regime of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. For we have to call it by its name, without fear. Venezuela is under a communist dictatorship.
Latin America and the rest of the world are barely taking notice of what’s happening in Venezuela. We have to shout about what’s going on, to call for our freedom and to report the abuses being committed by the Chavista dictatorship.
Whoever knows what’s going on in Venezuela and looks the other way becomes another accomplice. Nothing remains of democratic government, nothing remains of the republic; we’re living a dictatorship and no-one does anything.
One day, however, this dictatorship will fall, and we’ll see a genuine republic, without populism, without socialism, and without repression. María Corina Machado and Leopoldo López are leading an entire people, an entire country that is seeking its liberty.
One day — be it in two months, two years, or two decades — Venezuela will once again breathe the air of freedom. But for this to happen, we need to speak out against fear, and the international community must reject this dictatorship.
María Corina Machado and Leopoldo López need us. So what are you going to do?