Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Venezuela’s would-be leader says he is returning to Caracas

Juan Guaido was speaking in Brazil but suggested he faced threats from President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido (Lucio Tavora/AP)
Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido (Lucio Tavora/AP)

Juan Guaido, recognised by many countries as Venezuela’s president, has said he would return to Caracas this weekend despite “threats”.

Mr Guaido spoke to reporters in Brazil’s capital of Brasilia after meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro, who recognises Mr Guaido and has taken a hard line against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Mr Guaido did not detail what threats he faces, but one possibility is that Mr Maduro could order his arrest.

Mr Guaido and Mr Bolsonaro called for a return to democracy in Venezuela, with Mr Guaido saying he wanted free elections, monitored by international powers.

bpanews_fc541475-4b44-4d8e-bcff-8acff1ab9819_embedded241493573
Venezuelans cross illegally into Colombia (Martin Mejia/AP)

Oil-rich Venezuela was getting “closer and closer” to a change, he said.

Mr Bolsonaro said Brazil would “spare no effort” at helping Venezuela return to democracy within the law.

He said his administration supported decisions made by regional leaders in Bogota earlier this week, when representatives discussed sanctions and diplomatic pressure but ruled out military intervention.

bpanews_fc541475-4b44-4d8e-bcff-8acff1ab9819_embedded241433838
Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, Colombia’s President Ivan Duque and Vice President Mike Pence, pose for a photo after (Martin Mejia/AP)

During his visit to Brazil, Mr Guaido was also expected to meet with foreign minister Ernesto Araujo, leaders of Congress and ambassadors of several countries.

On Tuesday, Mr Guaido met in Colombia with regional diplomats and US Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s legislature, has won recognition as the country’s rightful leader from more than 50 nations, including the United States, but has been unable to wrest power from Mr Maduro.

bpanews_fc541475-4b44-4d8e-bcff-8acff1ab9819_embedded241379438
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro dances with first lady Cilia Flores (Boris Vergara/AP)

Mr Maduro’s opponents say his re-election last year was fraudulent.

His backers insist the vote was legal and say Mr Guaido is violating the constitution.

Guaido-led attempts over the weekend to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela via neighbouring Brazil and Colombia failed.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph