Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido returned to the country on Tuesday after a 23-day international tour in which he defied a ban on leaving the country imposed by President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
Guaido took to Twitter and announced his return before being greeted by a throng of cheering supporters at the Caracas international airport, where he arrived on a flight from Portugal.
“We’re already in Caracas. I bring the commitment of the free world, ready to help us regain democracy and freedom,” the opposition leader wrote on Twitter.
Venezuela: ya estamos en Caracas.
Traigo el compromiso del mundo libre, dispuesto a ayudarnos a recuperar la Democracia y la Libertad.
Empieza un nuevo momento que no admitirá retrocesos y que nos necesita a todos haciendo lo que nos toca hacer.
Llegó el momento.#TodoPorVzla
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) February 11, 2020
“A new moment has begun that won’t accept setbacks and in which we need everyone to do what they have to do. The time has arrived, he further posted.
Maduro was branded a “usurper” by parliament while more than 50 countries recognized Guaido as interim president.
However, Maduro retains the support of the powerful military and has resisted Guaido’s challenge, even as the United States ramps up the pressure with sanctions on government officials and agencies.
Guaido’s international trip was the second time he’d flouted the travel ban.
Guaido left Venezuela on January 19 heading to Colombia, several European countries, Canada and the United States, where he met with President Donald Trump, who threatened to “smash” Maduro’s regime.
Last week, the United States warned Venezuela’s leftist regime of consequences if opposition leader Guaido is not allowed to return safely from a visit to Washington.
During his visit to the US, Guaido met President Donald Trump at the White House and described his meeting “a very productive”.
Guaido, who is also the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, made the remarks shortly after meeting Trump, whose administration was the first to back him after he proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim President January 23, 2019.
Last January, Guaido invoked the constitution as head of the congress and declared Maduro a usurper. But a year on Maduro remains in power, despite a US campaign to cut off his government’s sources of financing by imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s vital oil sector, and Guaido’s attempts to encourage the military to rebel.
Earlier this year, Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party seized control of the National Assembly and swore in an allied politician who defected from Guaido’s camp. Opposition lawmakers then voted Guaido in for a second term as Congress chief in a separate session.