Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó returns home after tour

CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó returned home on Tuesday, arriving on a commercial flight to the nation’s main airport near Caracas without any major incidents after a risky international tour that included a White House meeting with United States (US) President Donald Trump.

Inside the terminal, a woman threw what appeared to be a soft drink can dousing Guaidó, who later walked from the airport pumping his right hand over his head.

Outside, an aggressive crowd shouted “Dirty traitor!” and “Get out!” while some threw traffic cones at an SUV that whisked him away.

Guaidó backers shouted his name in support, “Guaidó! Guaidó!”

Guaidó launched the trip with the goal of redoubling his backing in Washington and Europe to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, centre, arrives at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in La Guaira, Venezuela. PHOTO: AP

The trip’s high-point came with a meeting inside the Oval Office with Trump, after the US President recognised him as the “legitimate president of Venezuela.”

“I’m bringing with me the commitment of the free world willing to help us recover democracy and freedom,” Guaidó said on Twitter upon his return. “We begin a new moment.”

The opposition leader rose to prominence a year ago, claiming presidential powers, contending that Maduro’s rule is illegitimate after fraudulent election in 2018.

He won backing from the US among more than 50 other nations.

Guaidó left Venezuela in mid-January, defying a travel ban ordered by the government-friendly supreme court that put his safe return in jeopardy.

In addition to his stop in Washington, Guaidó met European leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.