A prominent dissident is running in Venezuela’s legislative elections as other opposition parties boycott. Over seven years in power, President Nicolas Maduro has demonstrated a knack for keeping his enemies divided.
Henrique Capriles has never been a magnetic political figure, but he was able to unite Venezuela’s opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable around him for two presidential campaigns: first in 2012 against Hugo Chavez and again in 2013 against Nicolas Maduro, who took power after Chavez died. According to the official results, he lost both times, and retreated to the state of Miranda, where he was governor until 2017.
In 2014, mass protests broke out as an economic recession set in a year after Maduro came to power. Millions took to the streets after the Supreme Court revoked the National Assembly’s power to legislate in 2017. Maduro was reelected in 2018 — though with the lowest voter turnout in the country’s democratic history.
By the beginning of 2019, when the leader of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president of Venezuela, Capriles was all but forgotten internationally. More than 50 countries, including the United States, rallied around Guaido and recognized his claim to the presidency. Venezuela’s army did not, however, and Guaido, too, has lost some of his influence.
And now Capriles is back. On September 5, the deadline to register as a candidate for the December 6 National Assembly elections, he gained the support of 277 opposition activists. The rest of the opposition, however, plans to boycott the vote, including Capriles’ own party: the social democratic Primero Justicia (Justice First).
Read more: DW – Deutsche Welle – Germany – Nicolas Maduro profits from opposition rifts in Venezuela