Juan Guaidó arrived in Colombia by surprise on Monday to join the international conference on the crisis in Venezuela organized by President Gustavo Petro.
“He took the Colombian foreign minister at his word, who had said that he or María Corina Machado could go.
Well, there it is”, commented people around him.
The opposition leader left Caracas on Saturday by land and arrived in Colombian territory on Monday.
"It has not been easy to leave the country," say the same sources.
The presence of Guaidó gives another dimension to the conference, which has the support of Chavismo.
"I will request a meeting with the international delegations that will attend," the opponent wrote in a statement that he made public.
The politician held the interim presidency until the beginning of the year, a government parallel to the official one, that of Nicolás Maduro, who received the support of Washington and several dozen countries.
Dear Venezuelans, today April 24 I want to inform you of the following in this statement.
Later I will be communicating with you again about our next steps.
God bless you.
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) April 24, 2023
That instrument, according to its creators, should serve to isolate Maduro and cause his downfall.
None of that happened, rather the opposite happened, and the alternative institutionality that he controlled ceased to make sense.
The opposition itself terminated the interim government four months ago.
Guaidó now plans to run in the primaries to be held among the opposition to choose a single candidate to face Maduro in the presidential elections to be held in 2024.
Precisely, the international conference organized by the Government of Colombia has among its objectives to insist to Chavismo that it must set a date for these elections.
From there, the rest of the requests can be structured, such as that the European Union act as an observer, that the disqualifications of opposition politicians be lifted or that political prisoners be released.
This meeting, which begins tomorrow in Bogotá, wants to reactivate the dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, which has been stalled since November.
Guaidó has denounced in recent months the persecution he suffers from the ruling party.
“In recent days, the regime has once again raised the threats against me and its objective is to silence my voice.
I am not going to allow Maduro that, ”he explains in the statement.
He points out that, despite the risk involved in seeking international support, he is not going to stop doing it.
“For the fight to work, we have to make the presidential election really an opportunity for change and a reunion with Venezuela,” he adds.
His presence changes the landscape.
Until now she had not expressed whether the conference seemed good or bad to her, she had remained ambiguous.
Maduro, who had given the go-ahead to this meeting, may change his mind when he sees Guaidó in it, whom he does not forgive for acting as president of Venezuela abroad.
Washington has made it clear on several occasions that if Guaidó were detained, he would take very tough measures against the Chavista government.
The opposition leader has been very critical of Petro.
He has accused him of pandering to Maduro since he came to power in August last year.
He also had a very bitter discussion on Twitter with the Colombian ambassador in Caracas, Armando Benedetti, whom he accused of being a friend of Chavismo.
At that time, the new Colombian government was restoring relations with Venezuela after years of disagreements and meeting regularly with Maduro.
Guaidó wrote a very harsh tweet against Petro before the meeting that he held last week with Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House: “Petro, I hope that in your meeting with POTUS you will be a spokesperson for democracy and not for Maduro.
He is a dictator who will not give up power voluntarily.
Let's hope that the meeting puts pressure on Maduro for: presidential election date, freedom of political prisoners and free press.
Before the conference, Petro met with the Unitary Platform of Venezuela, made up of various opposition parties that are negotiating with Chavismo in Mexico, and invited others to join these dialogues.
Guaidó has taken him at his word and has appeared at the conference when no one expected him.
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