One week ago Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó was at President Trump’s State of the Union address, hailed as Venezuela’s “true” president. Guaidó finally returned to Venezuela Tuesday afternoon - but getting back into the country will prove to be much easier for him than restoring its democracy.
Hundreds of chanting supporters awaited interim President Juan Guaidó when he landed around 5 p.m. local time at Caracas’ international airport from Portugal.
There were concerns that Venezuela’s authoritarian regime would try to block his re-entry. But Guaidó appeared to have made it through security with no resistance – except for being accosted by one furious woman who supports the regime and threw a beverage at him as he left the airport.
— BTFKNews (@BTFKNews) February 11, 2020
Still, others fear the regime may try to arrest Guaidó – who was officially barred from leaving Venezuela when he snuck out of the country last month. He went on a tour through Europe, Canada, Miami and Washington – where he met with President Trump, who recognizes Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, as do almost 60 other countries.
On his travels, Guaidó sought to revive support for his stalled campaign to oust socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The U.S. and the international community do in fact look poised to ratchet up economic sanctions on Maduro's regime and its allies, like Russia, as well as other diplomatic pressures intended to bring Maduro to the negotiating table and agree to a new presidential election. Guaidó nonetheless faces an uphill battle since Maduro is still supported by the military.
Venezuela is still struggling with the worst economic collapse in the world today, the worst humanitarian crisis in the hemisphere, and serious human rights abuses by Maduro's security forces.