U.S.-Venezuela Tensions Heat Up Again After Extradition of Maduro Ally


A group of opposition parties that he leads, called the Unitary Platform, decided in August to break a three-year boycott of elections organized by Mr. Maduro and participate in the November vote. At the time, the group said the decision was difficult but motivated by an “urgency to find permanent solutions.”

The group hoped that relatively high voter turnout for opposition candidates would show Mr. Maduro’s weakness and mobilize citizens, even if those candidates do not win many governor’s races.

Yet in an interview on Thursday, Mr. Guaidó said he had such little faith in the legitimacy of the November vote that he would not be going to the polls, noting that some political parties continue to be illegal, many voters have had their registrations deactivated, and many of Mr. Maduro’s opponents have been imprisoned and tortured by his government.

“For us, to call them ‘elections’ ahead of time would be an error,” Mr. Guaidó said.

Still, he and his allies continue to throw at least some support behind the election, which he called November’s “event,” and said it remained an opportunity to “mobilize our people” and “prepare ourselves for the possibility of an election in which Maduro leaves.”

In Venezuela, the big question is who will win the majority of votes in November: Mr. Maduro or the fractured opposition.

If the opposition has a major showing, Mr. Maduro might not return to the negotiating table in Mexico, said Igor Cuotto, a Venezuelan expert in political conflict resolution. But if Mr. Maduro wins big, Mr. Cuotto went on, he might try to return to the talks and push for an end to sanctions, this time claiming to have an even stronger hand. “I don’t think this is a definitive suspension,” Mr. Cuotto said.

Even so, Mr. Borrell signaled that he did not expect the Nov. 21 vote to be without irregularities.

“Certainly the political system in Venezuela is the way it is,” he said. “The elections will not be as it were in Switzerland.”

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