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Venezuela: Juan Guaido Met with Protests after Returning from International Tour

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó was met with protests at the airport after returning home from an international support-building tour.

Supporters of President Nicolás Maduro shouted “fascist!”, grabbed Juan Guaidó’s shirt and pushed him in the airport just outside the capital Caracas.

Juan Guaidó, 36, defied a travel ban to go to Colombia, Europe, Canada and the US, and met President Donald Trump.

He is considered the legitimate leader of Venezuela by more than 50 countries.

However, President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s left-wing leader who enjoys the support of the military, has remained in power.

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One of the protesters, who shouted at Juan Guaidó and threw a liquid at him, was wearing the uniform of the state-owned airline Conviasa, which has been directly hit by US sanctions.

There were also scuffles between the protesters and supporters of Juan Guaidó, who had gone to the airport to welcome him.

Lawmakers loyal to Juan Guaidó had to walk to the airport after the bus they were traveling in was stopped by police.

Journalists reported being attacked and having their kit stolen by those who had turned out to boo Juan Guaidó.

His office later said that a relative who was travelling with him had been held by airport officials, and had not been seen since.

Meanwhile, without directly naming Juan Guaidó, President Maduro told his supporters to focus on “defending Venezuela”.

He said at a ceremony that was broadcast on state television: “Let’s not get distracted by stupidities, by dummies, by traitors to the homeland.”

Nicolas Maduro’s second-in-command Diosdado Cabello also denounced Juan Guaidó’s three-week tour as a “tourism trip”, and said he did not expect anything to change after his return.

“He is nothing,” Diosdado Cabello added.

President Maduro and his officials have threatened Juan Guaidó in the past, but these threats have, so far, not led to him being harmed or detained.

Despite this being the second time he defied a court-imposed travel ban, Juan Guaidó was not arrested.

After landing, Juan Guaidó addressed a rally of about 500 people in Caracas, where he called for renewed protests against the president.

During Juan Guaidó’s visit to the US, President Trump promised to “smash” Nicolas Maduro’s government.