UPATA, Venezuela — 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 Venezuelan’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.
Venezuela —, Américo De, Mr, De Grazia, Nicolás
UPATA, Venezuela, Italy