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Specter Of Arrest Grows As Guaidó Calls For More Anti-Regime Marches In Venezuela

Natacha Pisarenko
Venezuelan opposition leader and widely recognized interim President Juan Guaido greets supporters in Caracas this week.

Venezuela’s authoritarian regime may be one step closer to arresting Juan Guaidó. Until Wednesday, it let the opposition leader keep the same immunity as any other legislator. But Guaidó has now lost that – and mass anti-government protests he's called for this weekend may put him in deeper danger.

Guaidó is Venezuela’s National Assembly leader – but the U.S. and more than 50 other countries also recognize him as Venezuela’s legitimate president now. The U.S. no longer recognizes socialist President Nicolás Maduro, who is widely blamed for trashing Venezuela’s economy and democracy.

So a big question is whether Maduro will put Guaidó behind bars with hundreds of other political prisoners in Venezuela. This week that prospect got more real when the regime stripped Guaidó of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

And even more so now: Guaidó is calling for massive marches on Saturday to protest Venezuela’s epic power and water outages. Maduro’s regime appears especially nervous about the growing public anger over that disaster.

Guaidó tells Bloomberg his arrest “would be one of the government’s final erratic actions.” Venezuelan expat leaders here in South Florida say he meant his arrest could prompt more serious action from the U.S. – perhaps even military action. President Trump says that option “is still on the table.”

This week the U.S. Senate also introduced a bill to send $400 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela – and to levy more sanctions against Maduro's regime.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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