In response to President Nicolas Maduro’s order to ban Germany’s ambassador, opposition leader Juan Guaido is calling for Europe to respond by increasing economic sanctions on Venezuela.
The announcement came on Wednesday as Maduro’s administration accused German AmbassadorDaniel Kriener and the German government of “crass” and “unlawful” meddling in Venezuelan affairs.
Addressing the National Assembly, Guaido denounced the order from Maduro and told his supporters they should view it as a threat to the free world.
“This is simply a threat and that is how it should be taken by the free world and the Ambassador and a country, as Venezuela should know, that has given much humanitarian help, medicine. It appears that the Maduro regime does not pardon anyone who wants to help Venezuela,” Guaido said.
Germany’s ambassador was one of several who greeted Guaido at the airport and formed a human shield around him when he returned after violating a court-appointed travel ban. Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said he still fully supports the opposition leader, and he believes the presence of the ambassadors was what prevented Guaido’s arrest.
“It was my wish and also my request that Ambassador Kriener, together with other representatives of European countries and Latin American countries, receive Juan Guaido at the airport because there was information that he was meant to be arrested there,” Maas said.
Guaido told German media that he hopes Europe reacts sharply to the decision to ban the nation’s ambassador and he invited the diplomat to stay in Caracas because Maduro was not empowered to expel him as he is quote “occupying the post of president illegally.”
While Guaido was not arrested upon his return to Venezuela, reports clam that an American citizen who has been working as a freelance journalist in Venezuela since 2014, was arrested and had his apartment raided by security forces early Wednesday morning.
Although the reason for the raid is still not clear, the journalist claimed he was detained for several hours, all of his electronic devices were seized and he was interrogated about possible ties to opposition leaders, before he was taken to the airport and told that he was being deported to the U.S.
The Trump administration has been adamant about its support for Guaido, but the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute told RT America that the plan to oust Maduro is not going as well as expected, and the establishment is not happy about it.
“A lot of these things are unraveling and coming apart. Guaido’s not turning out to be the great leader they thought… he wanted to take his European tour as the head of state, and his handlers in the U.S. said ‘hang on, you better go back to Venezuela and try to face the music,” said Daniel McAdams.
Now it remains to be seen whether Europe will increase sanctions on Venezuela, and if Guaido will continue to walk free as the U.S. officials who want Maduro to resign continue to claim that all options are on the table.