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Venezuelan opposition candidate defends return of exiles and release of political prisoners

Venezuelan opposition candidate Edmundo González said this Wednesday that he is committed to carrying out a transition that will allow exiles to return to the country and political prisoners to be released.

González was nominated on Friday by the opposition Democratic Unitary Platform coalition as a candidate for the July 28 presidential election, after the winner of the opposition primary, María Corina Machado, was banned from running and her alternate was unable to register her candidacy. .

The 74-year-old former diplomat will appear on the ballot in three opposition party seats, while President Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power for more than a decade, will appear in 13 different parties.

“We are committed to carrying out a transition that guarantees the freedom of political prisoners, the return of exiles and all Venezuelans who left and wish to return,” said González in a video posted on social media.

More than 7 million people have left Venezuela in recent years, most of them migrating to neighboring countries in Latin America.

Although Maduro's government agreed to a prisoner exchange deal with the United States in December, freeing dozens of Venezuelans and some Americans, opposition members and activists have recently been detained for what supporters say are unfounded reasons.

“It is time to march together for the recovery of our democracy, it is time to put aside our differences and work together to achieve electoral victory,” said González in his first further comments since being nominated as a presidential candidate.

González, who worked as a diplomat in Algeria and Argentina, said he did not expect to be a candidate, but that action needed to be taken on poverty, inflation, health and education, and that irregular water and electricity supplies were harming economic growth. .

He did not mention Maduro, a socialist whose government is facing a deep economic crisis marked by shortages of basic products, sky-high inflation and repression of political dissent.

The US reimposed sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector on April 17, accusing Maduro of breaching agreements reached with the opposition to guarantee free and fair elections.

(Reporting by Vivian Sequera)

Source: CNN Brasil

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