Americas Facing elections in Venezuela’s new normal, opposition asks: Do we want in?

As Venezuelan politicians prepare for long-delayed gubernatorial elections, some opposition members have argued that their participation would validate the increasingly undemocratic government. But memories of a backfiring boycott in 2005 have hung over the decision.

Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

Since April, Venezuela’s opposition coalition seemed to be gaining the kind of support and momentum it was long criticized for lacking. Its calls for peaceful protests and boycotts were met by a broad, consistent turnout, and an unofficial referendum it organized in July led more than 7 million Venezuelans at home and abroad to condemn the increasingly authoritarian moves of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.