Elections Are Still the Best Hope for Venezuela’s Opposition

Elections Are Still the Best Hope for Venezuela’s Opposition
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, center, sits with fellow lawmakers after their vehicles were attacked by government supporters, Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 15, 2020 (AP photo by Matias Delacroix).

Faced with a growing influx of migrants through the U.S. southern border and a spike in energy prices, the Biden administration accelerated its quiet diplomacy with Venezuela in recent months. Those efforts have already produced some breakthroughs, including the release by Caracas of wrongfully detained U.S. citizens. Now, a U.S.-brokered agreement to resume formal negotiations between the regime of President Nicolas Maduro and the political opposition is reportedly about to be announced, along with a deal to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela by unblocking $3 billion of Venezuelan funds frozen abroad.

But the greater challenge comes next, as U.S. President Joe Biden and his team try to leverage sanctions to incentivize Maduro to allow greater space for the opposition to compete in the 2024 presidential election. Having inherited the Trump administration’s policy of maximum pressure, which was designed to force the Maduro regime’s collapse yet only further ensconced him in power and left Venezuelans more destitute, Biden must now find a way to unwind sanctions without simply rewarding Maduro’s ability to outlast them.

Both the Biden administration and the Venezuelan opposition recognize the opportunity the 2024 election affords. Previous electoral boycotts by the opposition simply ceded the political field to Maduro’s ruling Socialist Party and its allies. And it was the opposition’s victory in the legislative elections of 2015 that marked its most consequential challenge to the Chavista regime’s hold on power, ultimately allowing for the naming of opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president in 2019, even if that gambit ultimately failed to dislodge Maduro.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.