Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed “interim” president, Juan Guaido, on Saturday said he will go home after his visit to Ecuador, raising the prospect of a showdown with the Maduro government that he is trying to force from power and risking arrest.
“I’m announcing my return home from Ecuador,” Guaido said after meeting its president, Lenin Moreno. He also called for protests in Venezuela on Monday and Tuesday, days that coincide with the country’s Carnival season.
Guaido, whose leadership of Venezuela is recognized the U.S., Canada, Lima Group and other nations from Latin America and Europe, did not comment on the exact timing of his planned return to Venezuela. His spokesman, Edward Rodriguez, said “it’s possible” that he will return Monday.
Anuncio mi regreso al país y la convocatoria de movilizaciones en todo el territorio nacional para este lunes y martes.
Difundamos este mensaje y estén muy atentos a nuestro llamado a través de las redes oficiales. #VamosBien
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) March 3, 2019
“We have little to celebrate and a lot to do,” said Guaido, who recently visited Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina after last week’s failed coordinated effort to bring aid from Colombia, where security forces loyal to Maduro blocked the supplies, in a campaign to build pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to resign.
Maduro described Guaido’s gambit as part of a U.S.-backed plot to overthrow him.
Moreno, who met Guaido in Ecuador’s coastal city of Salinas, said he supported the opposition leader’s attempt to bring “democratic change” to Venezuela.
Maduro told ABC news this past week, “He (Guaido)can come and go [but] he will have to face justice, and justice prohibited [him] from leaving the country. I will respect the laws. No one can be above the law. In this case, Guaido has to answer before the justice and not before Nicolas Maduro”.
“Trying to manage the Guaido situation has become a real problem for the government because (Guaido) has grown so much politically,” said Luis Salamanca, a political scientist and constitutional law professor at Venezuela’s Central University.
Is Guaido’s time running out?
After the failure of getting aid into Venezuela, Guaido called on his international supporters to impose harsher measures, to pressure Maduro.
Though the United States has not ruled out a military intervention, Latin American allies do not wholly support the military option, rather encourage a mix of sanctions and diplomacy instead.
Analysts believe Guaido is running out of time. “The government is betting on resisting the challenge,” Ronal Rodriguez, a professor and researcher at the University of Rosario’s Venezuelan Observatory in Colombia.
“The situation is tense in the US for President Donald Trump, what’s happening domestically might force him to focus on domestic issues and get him distracted from the situation in Venezuela. Brexit could end breaking up the EU stand, Germany and France are also facing their own internal problems.
“All the tensions taking place around the world might force international leaders to leave the Venezuelan case aside… meanwhile the current government is resisting, and they have shown resilience throughout time,” he added.
Guaido’s supporters think he needs to keep up momentum.
If he doesn’t, he will end up being another failed leader of the opposition.