Former Venezuelan presidential candidate tells CNN his country is ‘losing the right to exist’

Written by Staff Writer, CNN

By Elina Halidova, CNN | CNN

Former Venezuelan politician Manuel Rosales, who fled to Colombia amid allegations of vote fraud and extortion in 2012, told CNN on Monday his country has “lost the right to exist as a nation.”

“Nicaragua has been taken over,” he said in a telephone interview from Bogota. “I say Nicaragua has been taken over, because the people of Nicaragua were massacred. Nicaragua’s government is killing its own people.”

Rosales led Venezuela between 2007 and 2012 and was a prominent presidential candidate for the ruling party on the eve of the country’s presidential election in April, which was boycotted by Venezuela’s opposition.

Rosales went on to run in 2014 for a seat in the Venezuelan National Assembly but lost to a challenger by 10 points, according to Venezuelan media.

Emilio Alvarez, Nicaraguans for Reform Party candidate, campaigns in the primary election for presidential elections in Nicaragua in 2006.

Although Rosales has alleged his message was not heard in Nicaragua, there are widespread allegations that the country is in the hands of Cuban-trained Marxist Sandinista rebels.

Major international organizations that monitor elections in the country such as the Organization of American States and the Carter Center claim they have found evidence of fraud.

An anti-Ortega leaflet flies above the Ináciles Del Norte neighborhood in Nicaragua. Credit: ANTONIO PIZZOLI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Since the election in April, violent protests have engulfed the country. Nicaragua’s rights groups and politicians say opposition leader Berta Cáceres, a prominent environmentalist, was murdered by men linked to the country’s government after receiving death threats.

Prosecutors have not yet issued an official statement on the killing. Nicaragua’s national police say they are investigating Cáceres’ death, but have indicated it is a homicide.

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