President Nicolas Maduro’s government allowed opposition leader Juan Guaido to return home without arrest after he violated a court-ordered travel ban. Yet some U.S. lawmakers are still not happy—and they are attempting to turn their attention to the media coverage of the situation in Venezuela.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido made his return home to Venezuela on Monday. But instead of focusing on the fact that he was not arrested by the government of President Nicolas Maduro, some U.S. lawmakers are attempting to bring one of their favorite topics back into the mix: Russian collusion.
Senator Marco Rubio claimed that Russia in intentionally undermining what he called the constitutional basis for Guaido’s interim presidency by describing him as the self-proclaimed president of Venezuela. Rubio then noted that CNN does the same and suggested that it may be the basis for #RussianCollusion.
Now, while Rubio did not provide any other evidence of ties between the two, it should be noted that Guaido’s return to Venezuela lacked the dramatic arrest that was predicted after he intentionally violated a court-imposed travel ban. Instead, he received a hero’s welcome in Caracas.
The self-proclaimed leader landed at the country’s major airport on Tuesday. He was greeted by a crowd of supporters who embraced him, took cell phone pictures and chanted “Yes, we can!” in Spanish. As Guaido made his way through the crowd, a group—made up of ambassadors from several supporting countries such as Germany, France—formed a human shield around the opposition leader as he moved through the airport.
Despite warning that he would be arrested for breaking a travel ban imposed by Venezuela’s Supreme Court, the government did not interfere with Guaido as he traveled to a rally where he addressed supporters and called for the country’s armed forces to turn on President Nicolas Maduro.
“There is never again space for division until we reach our objections. Not only free elections but also democracy forever, prosperity for our people. And the armed forces: what else are you waiting for?”Guaid said. “You have seen how 700 or more than 700 officials are on the side of the constitution.”
One day after U.S. officials publicly threatened anyone who interfered with Guaido’s return, Russia is now sending out a warning of its own—against anyone who attacks Russian investments in Venezuela.
The Russian ambassador in Caracas noted that all of Moscow’s investment projects have passed checks by the Venezuelan government based on international laws and are therefore under their protection. He warned that any attempts to take away what was invested by Russian firms in the country’s economy would be met with a tough response.
While Guaido has claimed Cuba has a hold on Venezuela’s military, and U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton underscored that claim by saying that 25,000 Cuban troops are currently in Venezuela. On top of that, on Monday, the Trump Administration announced new economic sanctions against Cuba over the island nation’s alleged role in supporting the Maduro government.
Cuba is now firing back at the U.S. Cuba’s foreign secretary accused the U.S. of interfering in Venezuela by calling for a coalition to oust the country’s elected president. He claimed that Bolton is the perfect advocate for the U.S. government because it is quote “famous for resorting to lies.”
While Maduro has chosen to lay low, despite all of the fanfare surrounding Guaido’s return, the opposition leader has continued to call on his supporters to rally against the elected president, and it remains to be seen how the government and the military will respond with anther mass demonstration planned for this Saturday.