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LATIN AMERICA | 04-03-2019 14:18

Guaidó returns to Venezuela to challenge Maduro

Several hundred supporters of Juan Guaidó have gathered in a Caracas plaza to support the self-declared interim president as he returns to Venezuela.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has arrived back in Venezuela to renew his campaign to topple the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

Guaidó landed at the country's main airport, about 25 miles from Caracas. He said in a tweet he successfully passed through immigration checks.

Several European ambassadors who support his campaign for a change of leadership in Venezuela were at the scene as he arrived Monday.

Dozens of countries have recognized Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate leader, arguing that last year's re-election of Maduro was invalid.

Guaidó has called for nationwide demonstrations coinciding with his arrival. He'd ignored an official ban on travelling to go abroad.

Several hundred supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó have gathered in a Caracas plaza, heeding a call from the self-declared interim president to turn out for his expected return to Venezuela.

More demonstrators on Monday were walking toward the plaza in the Las Mercedes district of the Venezuelan capital. Some carried national flags.

The crowd initially appeared smaller than those of previous opposition rallies, which have drawn tens of thousands of people.

Guaidó says the goal of his return is to intensify pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to resign so that a transitional government can take over and prepare Venezuela for free and fair elections. Maduro says he is the target of a U.S.-backed plot to overthrow him.

-TIMES/AP

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