Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said that if the Venezuelan businessman Lorenzo Mendoza presented himself as a candidate in the next presidential elections, to be held in Venezuela on May 20, he would beat the “Chavismo”.
These statements were issued during the opening meeting of the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL). From there Varela was emphatic in stating that the people trust “committed” businessmen “a lot”, while highlighting the role played by the private sector in the countries.
“If the elections were tomorrow and if a businessman were allowed to run, specifically Lorenzo Mendoza, he would win the elections 2 to 1,” said Varela, according to the EFE news agency.
Despite the rumors spread in Venezuela about an eventual candidacy of Mendoza, he has not expressed his aspirations for the presidency, nor has he expressed an interest in politics. In February, members of the National Independent Movement of Social Alliance (Minas) marched to the headquarters of Empresas Polar, which he owns, to ask the businessman to take on the challenge of measuring himself in the next electoral contest. So far there is no official statement from Mendoza regarding this issue.
Panama, which also forms part of the Lima Group (GL), like all the countries that make up the body, does not recognize the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela (ANC) and also rejects the early announcement of presidential elections.
The GL, made up of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica, has been the subject of strong questions, because all the member countries agree that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is not welcome to the VII Summit of the Americas, which will take place in Lima between April 13 and 14 of this year.
The body also decided not to recognize the results of the presidential elections in Venezuela, assuring that the conditions in which they will be carried out lack legitimacy and credibility.
The issue of electoral guarantees in Venezuela has generated controversy and led to the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), which integrates the main parties of the opposition coalition, deciding not to name a May 20 presidential candidate, ensuring that conditions do so are neither fair nor transparent. Its leaders demand free elections, the appointment of two new members of the Venezuelan Electoral Power (CNE), an adequate mission of international observation, directed by the UN and the time lapses contemplated in the law to define and disseminate the electoral offers.
Despite this scenario, the current Venezuelan head of state, Nicolás Maduro, will measured himself at the polls on May 20 with five other candidates. His main adversary is the president of the Progressive Advanced Party (AP), Henri Falcón, former governor of the state of Lara and who in the past was part of the government team of the late President Hugo Chávez, nowadays he is critical of Maduro’s management.
Falcon was emphatic when he affirmed “if the regime decides to steal this election, count on finding me protesting in the streets, next to the brave Venezuelan people, fighting for the results to be respected”, said the leader for the The New York Times newspaper, review EFE.
Falcon has also questioned the calls for abstention that a sector of the Venezuelan opposition that will not be measured in the race has made. He said participation is necessary despite the fact that these elections, in his opinion, “will happen in a playing field favoring of the Government”, indicated in the column of the New York newspaper entitled “Why I aspire to the presidency in Venezuela”.
“Opting to compete with unjust rules does not legitimize those rules: what it does is affirm our firmness in defending our rights,” the candidate said. (EFE)
The evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci, the businessman Luis Alejandro Ratti and the engineer Reinaldo Quijada, will also be measured alongside Maduro and Falcón on May 20 in the presidential elections to be held in the South American country, in the midst of a difficult economic situation and a strong shortage of food and medicines that has diminished the quality of life of Venezuelans.