Juan Guaidó, contested incumbent president of Venezuela. Photo: Facebook

By KELIN DILLON

Contested Venezuelan incumbent President Juan Guaidó, who challenged Venezuela’s current President Nicolás Maduro amid the country’s decade-long economic crisis, issued a warning to the Mexican people ahead of the midterm elections, slated for Sunday, June 6, on, from his experience, how to spot ways the government could be weakening the nation’s democracy.

“Against the undermining of democracy, weakening of institutions, attacking the free press — the fundamental pillars of democracy — you must always be vigilant,” said Guaidó in a video message.

Hitting several of the Venezuelan’s warning points, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has repeatedly expressed his desire to absorb all of the nation’s independent institutions, particularly those who defy his wishes, into the government under his control, as well as having consistently and publicly denounced news outlets and journalists that have spoken less-than-favorably about his actions as president.

Questions about López Obrador, as Guaidó put it, “undermining democracy,” likewise arose when he strong-armed through the three-year extension of Mexican Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Zaldívar to his own advantage, invoking widespread criticism throughout Mexico about the president overstepping the limits of his role.

Guaidó likewise warned against the expansion of the military, something Mexico has seen increase tenfold under AMLO’s administration.

“Today the armed forces are almost a political party in arms, and that is very delicate, because they have a clear quota of power, obviously, in dictatorships they always hold or end up holding on to arms,” he said.

The politician pointed to Venezuela’s messy elections as an example of what Mexico should not do or accept in its voting process, and expressed hope for Mexico’s future help in his country’s own disputed vote, saying “We are valuing that Mexico can independently, impartially and respectfully host the (voting) process that Venezuelans are carrying out, a possible negotiation.”

Venezuela, which is still reeling from its deeply controversial 2018 presidential elections and the worst economic collapse the world has seen in decades, leaving 94 percent of Venezuelans in poverty, has seen its Maduro-led regime supported by López Obrador, and by extension, Mexico itself. 

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