Speed Reads

unrest in venezuela

Juan Guaidó arrived in Caracas to roaring crowds, despite threats of arrest

Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader in Venezuela who declared himself interim president over Nicolás Maduro returned to Caracas on Monday, despite facing the risk of arrest.

Guaidó, who has been out of the country meeting with other South American leaders since Feb. 23, announced on Sunday that he would return to Venezuela this week and called for Venezuelans to organize a series of protests on Monday and Tuesday against Maduro.

Maduro's government imposed a travel ban on Guaidó, but the opposition leader ignored the warnings, touching down at Caracas' airport shortly after noon on Monday. Guaidó tweeted about his return and called for the mobilization of his supporters, some of whom — along with diplomats from Europe, Latin America, and the United States — greeted him at the airport. Others have already taken to the streets throughout the city.

Maduro had previously said Guaidó would "face justice" if he returned to the country, but the latter cleared immigration without any problems, perhaps because the government fears the potential backlash. "If the government has the opportunity, they will arrest him," Gloria Lara, 60, a middle school teacher said, per the Los Angeles Times. "But that would be the worst thing they could do. If that happens, we'd expect a scenario of strong protests and deaths."

Earlier on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed the United States' support of Guaidó and warned Maduro against taking any action. Tim O'Donnell