Juan Guaido calls for protests ahead of return to Venezuela

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on March 4th, 2019

Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido has called for mass protests as he will attempt to return to the country Monday, amid concerns he could be arrested for defying a travel ban.

In a live video broadcasted over Twitter Sunday, Guaido said, “See you tomorrow” while warning Venezuelan authorities that any attempt to arrest him would be the “last mistake” the government commits.

The video, in which the 35-year-old politician is seen sitting beside his wife, follows a Tweet Sunday when Guaido called on his supporters to protest starting 11 a.m. Monday.

“I call on the Venezuelan people to concentrate, throughout the country, tomorrow at 11:00 a.m,” he said in the tweet.

#Venezuela Tal y como dije ayer, anuncio mi regreso al país. Convoco al pueblo venezolano a concentrarse, en todo el país, mañana a las 11:00 am. Atentos a las redes oficiales, estaremos informando puntos de concentración #VamosBien porque vamos todos. ¡Vamos Venezuela!— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 3, 2019

Guaido, who has called for the resignation of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, left the country Feb. 22 to retrieve humanitarian aid in Colombia, defying a Supreme Court-ordered travel ban.

The convoy failed to enter the country resulting in clashes between Guaido’s supporters and the Venezuelan military that left four dead and hundreds injured.

Since then, Guaido, who has been recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by at least 50 countries including the United States, has been visiting Latin American countries to shore up support behind his push to overthrow Maduro.

Maduro, who has the support of China, Russia and Cuba, has said that Guaido’s claim to the country’s helm is part of a U.S.-backed coup.

With Guaido stating his return is imminent, his defiance of the travel ban opens the doors for his possible arrest as Maduro told ABC News last week that “[Guaido] can come and go [but] he will have to face justice, and justice prohibited him from leaving the country. I will respect the laws.”

The call for protests was widely circulated online, with demonstrations planned for a shopping and entertainment area in the capital Caracas among other locations.

In the video, the leader of the National Assembly’s opposition did not give any details about his return.

Guido assumed the interim president role last month after Maduro’s presidency was declared illegitimate by the National Assembly.

He is calling for free and fair elections in a country that is suffering from economic hardships and food shortages.

Maduro has denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis within his country.

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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