Who is María Corina Machado, the presidential candidate who managed to rekindle Venezuelans' hope for freedom?

The only right-wing political leader recently summoned a "sea of people" in a town that historically belonged to the ruling party.

Venezuelan opposition leader María Corina Machado, who is currently leading in voting intentions for the primary elections, announced that she will register as a candidate on June 23, reviving the hopes of Venezuelans to live in a democracy.

Machado, who has been considered one of the country's most controversial opponents for not aligning herself with any of the most recognized political parties of the opposition, made her announcement in front of a large crowd in the streets of one of the most pro-government states in the nation.

"We have decided to take perhaps the most important decision of my life, a decision that changes my life," she said, stressing that she hopes that this initiative would also succeed in changing the lives of Venezuelans. "We are ready for whatever needs to be done," she added.

In the past, it was believed that Machado did not have enough popular support, but the opposition leader broke paradigms with the recent massive turnout in a historically Chavista state.

From the most recognized opposition parties to the pro-government ones, the opposition leader was regularly criticized and discredited, probably because she has remained strongest in her stance of not negotiating with the dictatorial regime of Nicolás Maduro.

However, this position has led her to become the government's main opponent, as Venezuela has tried in the past with options of opposition leaders who have been in favor of negotiation, and there has been no real change.

The Iron Lady

María Corina Machado is the only political leader who is truly right-wing, openly in favor of capitalism and promoting economic freedom. The so-called "Iron Lady" has become the most critical voice of the government and of many of the decisions of the other opposition parties. Machado is the founder of the Vente Venezuela party, considered the most intransigent option of the ruling party.

Training and political experience

The political leader has a degree in industrial engineering focusing on Finance. Machado is also a Yale University's Global Leaders in Public Policy Program graduate. However, her commitment to Venezuelan society began much earlier.

In 1992, she co-founded the Atenea Foundation focused on caring for orphaned children and rehabilitating abandoned and delinquent youth. In 2002, she also co-founded Súmate, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting and defending citizens' political rights and electoral transparency.

It was in 2004 that she began to deepen her political interests by calling for a national recall referendum that the OAS supervised. However, it was not until 2010 that she really started her political career when she left Súmate and ran for the Venezuelan National Assembly. Machado became the deputy elected with the highest number of votes in the country in that year's parliamentary elections.

During that time, Machado became one of the most forceful voices against Hugo Chávez, and two years later she founded Vente Venezuela and participated as an independent candidate in the primary elections.

In 2014 Machado's leadership increased as she became one of the most visible faces of large demonstrations against the regime. Since then, the dictatorial government has taken it upon itself to try to end her political career by removing her from her position as deputy for alleged "treason," investigating her for leading the protests against the regime, issuing a ban on her leaving the country and even disqualifying her from holding public office for 12 months. However, now that that measure has ceased and there seems to be no better opponent for the elections, Machado is ready to step forward and try to end Maduro's tyranny.

The opposition leader has made it clear that she does not believe that the conditions are in place for fair elections to be held in the country. But she is determined to try to restore democracy in Venezuela.

Her candidacy is at risk

Without even having officially run, the regime is already showing signs of concern by trying to disqualify her candidacy. Luis, a politician linked to the government, announced through his social networks that he decided to officially request an immediate disqualification for María Corina Machado. Likewise, he asked to investigate the origin of the funds of her electoral campaign.