Venezuela’s Guaido To Return Home After LatAm Tour With Arrest Looming

Sunday, March 3, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sun, 03/03/2019

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido said on Saturday he will return home in the coming days after a visit to Ecuador and called for new protests next week against President Nicolas Maduro, whose government had banned him from traveling abroad and who has been branded as Venezuela’s illegitimate leader by much of the world with some key exceptions including Russia, China and Turkey.

“I announce my return to the country and call on marches across the country for Monday and Tuesday,” Guaido tweeted late on Saturday. “We call on people to be attentive to the next steps that we’ll announce.”

“As for the next steps for Venezuelans, I announce my return home from Ecuador,” Guaido told a news conference in the coastal town of Salinas alongside Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno.

Guaido, who laid his claim as rival president on the grounds that Maduro won a new term in fraudulent elections last year, secretly left Venezuela last month in violation of a travel ban. He has spent the past few days touring between Latin American countries to muster support for his campaign to form a transition government and oust Maduro, whom he denounces as an illegitimate usurper. On his trip, Guaido visited Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay who are backing his push to depose Maduro and organize free and fair elections. Last week Guaido left for Colombia to coordinate efforts there to send humanitarian aid into his country, although following a deadly skirmish, troops loyal to Maduro blocked a convoy of aid trucks and turned them back.

Guaido did not state when or how he would return to Venezuela, although according to Reuters citing the Ecuadorean government’s schedule for his visit, he is expected to leave Ecuador at 9.30 a.m. local time on Sunday.

His return opens the possibility that Venezuelan authorities will arrest him. The Supreme Court had imposed a travel ban on him after he invoked the country’s constitution on Jan 23 to assume an interim presidency. Since taking an oath in front of supporters in late January, Guaido received the backing of more than 50 countries if not Venezuela’s key creditors and oil exporting customers such as Russia and China. Meanwhile, perhaps contrary to his expectations, a quick flip of the military hasn’t materialized, but the U.S. doubled down on financial and oil sanctions that will crimp Maduro’s access to hard currency.

Guaido said Venezuelans should again take to the streets on Monday and Tuesday, even though Venezuela, like other Latin American countries, was celebrating the Carnival holiday. “We have little to celebrate and a lot to do,” he said.

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