miércoles, abril 17, 2024
InicioInternacionalBloodied Venezuelan Opposition Returns to Elections for First Time in Years

Bloodied Venezuelan Opposition Returns to Elections for First Time in Years

His opposition to Venezuela’s authoritarian leader had left him bloodied by government thugs, forced him into hiding in a foreign embassy and pushed him into a nearly two-year exile in Italy, where he sold bread in a train station as he thought of home.

Américo De Grazia’s political defiance had also cost him his marriage and his savings. And yet here he was, back in his hometown in southeastern Venezuela, sweating through his shirt sleeves on stage — one of thousands of opposition candidates running in an election this Sunday that they are almost certain to lose.

“We are in a time of turbulence,” Mr. De Grazia, 61, told voters as drums beat behind him, “and that demands we fight.”

The political parties who oppose Venezuela’s autocratic leader, Nicolás Maduro, have for years refused to participate in elections, arguing that to do so would legitimize a man who has spent nearly a decade jailing enemies, detaining journalists, co-opting political parties and banning key opposition figures from office, all as the country has fallen into an economic and humanitarian crisis.

But on Sunday, the opposition will make a return to the ballot box, putting up candidates in gubernatorial and mayoral races across the country, an about-face they say is meant to rally a disillusioned electorate ahead of a future presidential vote, which should legally take place in 2024.

 The conditions — while nominally better than in past years, according to the nonpartisan Venezuelan Electoral Observatory — are far from freely democratic, and the shift is a gamble for the opposition.

Mr. Maduro, who faces both economic sanctions and an investigation in the International Criminal Court, is hungry for democratic legitimacy, and he is likely to use the election to push the United States and the European Union to ease their positions against him.

Fuente: NYTimes

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