Guaido returns to Venezuela to the welcome of foreign ‘bodyguard’ envoys
Self-declared “interim president” of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, returned from his South American tour on Monday, arriving into the loving (and protective) arms of ambassadors from the foreign governments backing him.
Despite Venezuelan authorities making it clear he could face 30 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the government and violating a travel ban, Guaido chose to arrive directly to an airport in Caracas.
The risk of arrest was notably mitigated by the presence of ambassadors from Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and several other countries which gathered at the arrival gate to huddle around him like a high-profile human shield. While Guaido was all smiles, his Western-world entourage seemed a bit on edge.
"Ambassador of France, Romain Nadal, was presented at the International airport of Maiquetía to witness the possible arrival to that place of Juan Guaidó." Many ambassadors gathered to support the arrival of the president of #Venezuela Juan Guaidó. https://t.co/zzvvnqVDfE— Teddy Mcnabb (@McnabbTeddy) March 4, 2019
As people wait for the arrival of Juan Guaidó in Caracas, the German ambassador to Venezuela is waiting at the airport hoping to prevent a possible arrest. (📹 from @NTN24ve) pic.twitter.com/m2YYEG4LkP— Kevin Rincon (@KevRincon) March 4, 2019
Spain's ambassador to Venezuela tells reporters at airport he hopes Guaidó isn't seized on arrival https://t.co/SM4f8bJU3T— Tom Phillips (@tomphillipsin) March 4, 2019
While the media fretted that Maduro might make good on threats to arrest Guaido, the opposition leader passed through customs without incident and headed straight to a rally in central Caracas.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence warned the Venezuelan government that Washington protects its investments, stressing how important Guaido is to them, and threatening a “swift response” if anyone tries to bully him.
.@JGuaido’s safe return to Venezuela is of the highest importance to the U.S. Any threats, violence, or intimidation against him will not be tolerated & will be met with swift response. The world is watching - Interim President Guaido must be allowed to re-enter Venezuela safely.— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 4, 2019
Shortly after moving unhindered through the airport, Guaido arrived at a demonstration he called for on Twitter the week before. Addressing crowds in the country's capital city, he called on his supporters to take to the streets for continued demonstrations next Saturday.
Juan Guaido is speaking now from Plaza Alfredo Sadel, he is asking supporters to stay strong and continue to take the streets. He urges the army to turn on Nicolas Maduro. In few words, more national protests are expected. #4Mar#4MVzlaALaCalle#venezuelapic.twitter.com/E0qY04R4cU— Amir Richani (@amir_richani) March 4, 2019
Like any proper anti-government rally, Guaido's was topped off with a screeching saxophone solo rendition of the country’s national anthem which was almost loud enough to drown out the crowd’s singing on live feed.
Guaidó llegó a Venezuela y fue recibido por miles de venezolanos y resguardado por el cuerpo diplomático. Este saxofón de nuestro sistema de orquestas selló el acto con el himno nacional “seguid el ejemplo que Caracas dio...” - @Beadrianpic.twitter.com/Ji4XDc3dUy— Class 98.7FM (@Class987FM) March 4, 2019
While Guaido toured South America and met with his most critical support base – foreign governments – the US ramped up pressure on Maduro’s government, imposing intensified sanctions and revoking visas for state actors.
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