Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó said he left the country and crossed into Colombia by foot on Monday, as he denounces increasing threats against his person by the regime of President Nicolás Maduro.
Guaidó was first banned from leaving the country by Venezuela’s Supreme Court in January 2019, shortly after he was recognised as the nation’s legitimate ruler by dozens of countries and became President Nicolás Maduro’s biggest threat in years.
In a statement early Monday, Guaidó said that the Maduro regime has increased threats against him with the purpose of silencing him.
“I won’t give Maduro that chance,” he said in a statement.
Guaidó plans to attend a summit organised by Colombian President Gustavo Petro meant to reignite Venezuela’s negotiations.
“I hope this summit can ensure that the Maduro regime returns to the negotiating table in Mexico and agrees to a credible time for free and fair elections.”
The government has opened dozens of investigations against Guaidó since 2019 but has stopped short of arresting him in the face of potential reprisals from the US and other nations. Venezuela has been under US sanctions for human rights violations and government corruption since 2015.
Guaidó was pushed out as the head of the opposition’s assembly earlier this year after failing to deliver on his promise to oust Maduro, who never lost the support of the country’s military and police. He was widely expected to run in the opposition’s primaries in October ahead of presidential elections in 2024, where Maduro is likely to contend for a third six-year term.
by Patricia Laya & Nicolle Yapur, Bloomberg