Caracas, July 16, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan far right leader Maria Corina Machado has been barred from holding public office for twelve months after she neglected to disclose the full extent of her earnings during her term as a congresswoman.
The opposition hardliner was informed by the Comptroller General’s office on Tuesday that she had failed to meet the standards of transparency required by the Sworn Declaration of Assets in refusing to divulge her sources of income other than her congressional salary.
“Machado says her income is from the National Assembly, but when her accounts are examined, the amount far exceeds what she spends, which she doesn’t mention in her sworn statement,” explained National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello.
Machado will have fifteen days to appeal the decision, which, if upheld, will bar her from taking office in the event that she successfully wins a seat in parliamentary elections this December.
Last year, Machado was stripped of her congressional seat after unlawfully usurping the position of a Panamanian diplomatic representative in order to address the Organization of American States, for which she faces a class-action lawsuit in Panama.
A close ally of various US leaders including ex-president George W. Bush, Machado has founded several NGOs which receive millions in funding from Washington via the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID.
US Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson responded to the announcement, expressing “concern” for the state of the democratic process in Venezuela, notwithstanding the country’s 18 internationally recognized elections held under the Bolivarian Revolution.
“Inclusiveness and a level playing field are key for free, fair elections in #Venezuela.” she stated yesterday via Twitter, neglecting to address the stated reasons for Machado’s disqualification.
The comment provoked a response from Bolivarian foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez who categorically rejected Jacobson’s interference in Venezuelan affairs.
“@WHAAsstSecty [Jacobson] respect Venezuelan institutions, respect our democratic life. Believe me that silence may be your best advisor,” she declared via her Twitter account.
The exchange comes in the midst of a recent lull in tension between the two countries following a series of bilateral talks aimed at normalizing relations.