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Venezuela's opposition candidate says she'll stay in presidential race despite ban

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Venezuela's leading opposition candidate says she's staying in this year's presidential race despite a ruling by the country's High Court upholding a ban on her candidacy. Some people seeking fair and free elections in Venezuela want the U.S. to reinstate sanctions that the Biden administration lifted. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Speaking to supporters in Caracas today, Maria Corina Machado defiantly rejected the ruling by Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice last week. It's not a sentence nor an arbitrary ruling, she says.

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MARIA CORINA MACHADO: (Speaking Spanish).

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KAHN: It is called judicial criminality, she says, and she has no plans to abandon her run for president against current leader Nicolas Maduro. She didn't specify her next steps. Machado won a presidential primary organized by opponents following a deal signed by Maduro officials promising to hold free and fair elections this year. The U.S. eased some sanctions on Venezuela. Today, U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby says Venezuela must comply.

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JOHN KIRBY: They need to make the right decisions here and allow opposition members to run for office and release the political prisoners.

KAHN: He says Maduro has until April, according to the deal. He declined to preview options that the U.S. is considering.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF HERMANOS GUTIERREZ'S "LOS CHICOS TRISTES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Carrie Kahn
Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.