Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has arrived back in Venezuela to renew his campaign to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro. (March 4)
Venezuela’s U.S.-supported opposition leader Juan Guaido returned home to Caracas on Monday after visiting with the leaders of several Latin American countries.
Guaido returned to Venezuela after a 10-day absence. He defied a travel ban imposed by Venezuela’s supreme court – controlled by embattled leader Nicolas Maduro – when he left Venezuela on Feb. 22 as part of efforts to bring humanitarian aid into the country.
“We will keep pushing forward, without fear,” Guaido told reporters in Venezuela’s capital after landing at Simon Bolívar international airport. Outside, Guaido, 35, was greeted by cheering crowds of supporters who chanted “Yes we can!”
Many of his supporters feared he might be arrested on arrival. Guaido has been recognized by the U.S. and over 50 countries as Venezuela’s interim president and Maduro has accused the U.S. of attempting to stage a coup against his government.
Maduro’s government has brought Venezuela’s economy to its knees. The country now has the highest annual inflation rate in the world – more than 100,000 percent – and it is plagued by shortages of essential medicines and food. In Venezuela’s latest presidential election, a controversial vote which he won in May last year, Maduro barred most opposition candidates from running and he controls most branches of government.
Guaido visited Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador.
On Sunday night, Guaido called for a new round of nationwide street protests.
“This process is unstoppable,” he said in an online broadcast, insisting that Maduro would eventually be ousted from power. “The transition is already under way.”
John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, tweeted Sunday night: “Any threats or acts against (Guaido’s) safe return will be met with a strong and significant response from the United States and the international community.”
In a Q&A with the Washington Post published online on Sunday, Guaido said his “international visit has been very important to consolidate support from regional leaders – not just for humanitarian assistance but to continue to pressure Maduro.”
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