Henri Falcón, the top Venezuelan opposition candidate in Sunday’s presidential election, faces two obstacles to winning: his friends and his foes. He must not only outmaneuver a ruling administration using state machinery to dominate the vote. Mr. Falcón must also overcome the reluctance of a coalition of like-minded opposition parties that is boycotting a contest they say is rigged. Mr. Falcón’s message, in contrast is: You can’t win if you don’t participate. “I decided to show my face to the country,” Mr. Falcón told followers last week from a stage in this hard-bitten industrial town southwest of Caracas. “I don’t care about the criticism…It’s the moment of truth now, a time for common sense, for being rational.”
Mr. Falcón, a 56-year-old retired soldier, ex-governor and, most notably, a former government ally, has emerged as the sole politician with a chance to end a government whose poor stewardship has sparked an exodus of as many as 3 million Venezuelans to other countries.
Polls are mixed, but some show Mr. Falcón ahead of the unpopular president, who is running for a second term. But to win, Mr. Falcón acknowledges, he needs to deliver a substantial victory.
“We are going to be recognized by the world because who could not recognize 8 million, 7 million Venezuelans in the street, celebrating that they have a new government,” he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.q1`