Yesterday, Maria Corina Machado offered a press conference to react to the Comptroller-General’s decision to bar her from holding public office for 12 months, which would leave her out of December 6th’s legislative election.
Machado said that the formal reason given for her punishment is that she failed to declare her CestaTickets (a kind of private food-stamp often included as part of a pay package). That’s quite something, given that she didn’t receive any CestaTickets during her time as a member of the National Assembly.
Then, she openly challenged Nicolas Maduro, saying, “I’m enabled (to run) by the country and its citizens”. So MCM says she’ll go forward with her candidacy for Miranda State’s 2nd electoral district (El Hatillo, Chacao, Baruta and part of Sucre Municipality). BTW, the CNE reduced the number of deputies in this district – one of the most populous in the country – from two to one.
Machado received the support of MUD’s Secretary-General Jesus “Chuo” Torrealba and her fellow MP Eduardo Gomez Sigala during her press conference. OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro’s reaction was forceful: “Any barrings are made by voters. Disqualifications are the people’s matter alone.” Henrique Capriles’ reaction?… not so much.
In follow-up interviews with CNN en Español and Spanish newspaper ABC, Maria Corina called the ruling as “void and illegitimate” and vowed to appeal it. Comptroller-General Manuel Galindo denied that the “administrative” sanction against her is politically motivated. Right, that’s that cleared up then.
Later in the day, Diosdado Cabello didn’t just talk back during his weekly TV show but actually explained the whole case in more detail than the Comptroller-General has done so far. Talk about Diosdasplaining…
…(Cabello) refuted Maria Corina’s statement indicating that her bank accounts only showed her payments from Assembly’s payments, and the inquiry revealed that those payments “are about a fiftieth of what she spends. Where does she get the money? Because she doesn’t tell us in her sworn declaration.”
According to the information given by “cooperating patriot” Chequeador (term used for the State’s anonymous informants), the Comptroller’s office requested in the AN’s Human Resources Office all receipts of the citizen’s payments where evidence was found of transportation and additional food expenditures.”
Meanwhile, the hegemony isn’t pleased with her defiant response. Good. You can see Maria Corina’s full statement in the video up top.
UPDATE: Enzo Scarano, former mayor of San Diego Municipality (Carabobo State) just got his own 12-month ban as well. Apparently, sacking him of his post and putting him in prison after a quick trial wasn’t enough. He was supposed to be the opposition’s candidate for Carabobo’s 3rd Electoral District (San Diego, Naguanagua and North Valencia) after winning the MUD primary last May by a landslide. So… Who’ll be next?