Interim President Guaidó Calls for Protests in Venezuela
Juan Guaidó, contested Interim President of Venezuela, has returned to Venezuela after visiting Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Ecuador to garner support and to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela.
Over 50 countries, including those in South America which Guaidó visited, have recognized Guaidó as the legitimate President and Head of State of Venezuela.
As Guaidó arrived to the airport in Caracas, he was greeted by his supporters, various news outlets, and diplomats from Germany, Spain, and the United States.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court banned Guaidó from leaving the country, which Guaidó defied when he left for ten days to make his way around South America.
Vice President Delcy Rodríguez of Venezuela has stated that Guaidó has broken Venezuelan law and is “a Venezuelan who conspires with foreign governments to overthrow a constitutional government,” which could be interpreted to mean that Guaidó could face incarceration.
Spanish Ambassador to Venezuela Jesús Silva Fernández stated, “We hope there won’t be any escalation and that parliamentary immunity is respected.”
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton tweeted, “Any threats or acts against [Guaidó’s] safe return will be met with a strong and significant response from the United States and the international community.”
Guaidó called for protests in Venezuela as he planned his arrival, stating, “The regime must understand, the dictatorship must understand... that we’re stronger than ever. We’ll continue protesting, we’ll continue mobilizing.”
19-year-old Gloriannys Pérez was part of the demonstrations in favor of Guaidó and Pérez. She shared her hope for a new Venezuela, “I thought they would arrest him... so it is so exciting to see him up on stage today because, to me, he symbolizes the hope of a nation and the change that we are all hoping for.”
Guaidó acknowledged the possibility of being incarcerated, “We know the risks we are facing but this has never stopped us.” He then added, “If the regime dares, of course, to kidnap us, it will be the last mistake they make.”
Political analyst Luisa Salamanca stated the troubles that Maduro faces, “If [Guaidó] comes in and they stop him, it will generate strong reactions internally as well as internationally. Maduro is at permanent risk.”
As international and domestic support grows for Guaidó, the pressure for Maduro to step down increases. However, Maduro still remains in control of the Venezuelan military.
Temir Porras, Maduro’s former Chief of Staff, has stated the dangers that could arise from this situation in Venezuela, “Imagine how dangerous it is to fracture a military institution and the risks of this thing becoming a total, catastrophic civil war.”