Trump boost at SOTU helps President Guaidó face angry, violent socialists in Venezuela

(Photo by CRISTIAN HERNANDEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó was greeted with verbal and physical assaults on his return home following visits to the United States and Canada.

The opposition leader, who is recognized by more than 50 countries as the legitimate president of Venezuela, was surrounded by angry, violent socialists and supporters of President Maduro as he arrived at Simón Bolivar International Airport.

Guaidó, who was honored as one of President Trump’s guests at the State of the Union address last week, returned to Caracas on Tuesday after defying a travel ban to take a successful trip to meet with Trump as well as with other leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“We’re in Caracas now. I bring back with me the commitment of the free world, ready to help us regain democracy and freedom,” Guaido wrote on Twitter. And in another tweet, he posted a picture of himself at the passport desk that was captioned “HOME.”

But he was soon targeted by protesters.

The 36-year-old who declared himself the country’s acting president last January was confronted by employees of the state-run airline Conviasa who expressed their anger over US sanctions that have affected them. One woman appeared to spray a can of soda on Guaidó who seemed to laugh it off.

Crowds attacking him clashed with his supporters as they thronged the leader.

Guaidó’s identification papers were reportedly confiscated at the airport by government officials and his office said a relative traveling with him, who was detained at the airport, had not been heard from since, according to France 24.

There were plenty of supporters gathered to welcome Guaidó home, however.

He later spoke to a rally of about 500 people in Caracas.

“We came to work and leave the rest, to do what is necessary to accomplish the goal” of removing Maduro, Guaidó said.

“There are things we cannot talk about… because we are confronting a dictatorship,” he added, promising that “mechanisms of pressure” would increase against the regime.

“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 tweeted Tuesday. “Now more than ever, we need unity, confidence and political discipline. Look out for new announcements.”

In another tweet, he recapped the moment Trump recognized him in Washington and touted the support for Venezuelans during his trip.

Meanwhile, Maduro urged his supporters to focus on “defending Venezuela” during a broadcast on state television, according to France 24.

“Let’s not get distracted by stupidities, by dummies, by traitors to the homeland,” he said.


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