A Venezuelan presidential candidate has reported that three opposition activists are missing, sparking concerns about political persecution ahead of the July 28 election.

The missing individuals are Juan Iriarte, coordinator of the opposition party Vente, and two activists from the Popular Will party, Luis Lopez and Jean Carlos Rivas. Vente stated that they worked with opposition leader Maria Corina Machado and had helped organize campaign activities in Maiquetia, a port city in central Venezuela.

Machado, who has been banned from standing in the election by courts loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, described the disappearance as “forced.” The opposition has long alleged political persecution of its leaders and supporters through arrests, judicial procedures, and obstacles to competing in elections.

This incident is the latest in a series of concerns about political repression in Venezuela, where opposition leaders and activists have been targeted by the government. The situation is likely to escalate tensions ahead of the election, which is seen as a crucial test of the country’s political landscape.

Many people question whether the elections in Venezuela will be fair and truthful. Critics argue that Nicolas Maduro’s regime controls the election process, making it difficult to trust the results. Sadly, many Venezuelans living abroad, including those in Miami, hold onto the hope that there will be genuine elections.

Over the last decade, more than 7 million Venezuelans have left the country due to the ongoing political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that has persisted throughout Maduro’s government.