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Tear Gas Halts Guaidó-Led March Against Venezuela Regime, But Turnout A Plus For Him

Ariana Cubillos
Venezuelan opposition protesters clash with Maduro regime security during their march through Caracas on Tuesday.

Since Venezuelan opposition leader and interim President Juan Guaidó returned from a world tour last month, people were asking: What’s his next move? On Tuesday, Guaidó was back in action against Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. The new question: Would enough of his supporters be too?

Guaidó’s plan was a mass protest march through Caracas to the capital’s National Assembly, which Guaidó heads. There he hoped to present what he called a “Document of National Struggle” calling for a new and transparent presidential election, among other democracy-restoration demands.

That’s because the U.S. and more than 150 other countries no longer consider Nicolás Maduro Venezuela’s legitimate president. They recognize Guaidó instead as the country’s interim president.

“Today we’ve met our goal against the dictatorship,” Guaidó said at the march’s start, using a megaphone. “We’re as united as ever.”

But then Maduro security forces fired tear gas at the crowd, and it was halted well short of the National Assembly.

Still, the estimated tens of thousands of marchers in Caracas were a sign Guaidó’s movement to oust Maduro still has a robust following. That support had seemed to be waning in recent months.

To bolster Guaidó, the Trump administration may levy new economic sanctions against the Maduro regime in the coming days. Leonardo Trechi is a spokesman for Guaidó in Miami.

“Yes, we are expecting more pressure," says Leonardi Trechi, a spokesman in Miami for Guaidó's Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) party. "Sanctions aimed more directly at those supporting Maduro's regime."

Maduro says the U.S. is staging a coup against him.

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Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.