CARACAS – Tensions continue to escalate between Venezuelans, political heads, and neighboring countries.
This morning, a growing crowd of protesters rallied together to demand socialist President Nicolas Maduro step down in a Caracas plaza. By this afternoon hundreds gathered in anticipation for the return of interim president, Juan Guaido at the airport.
Guaido returned home this afternoon after ignoring a travel ban put in place by Venezuela’s highest court. The court took an additional step and revoked his passport according to the Washington Examiner.
He has been away campaigning and gaining support in various Latin American countries as the rightful president. Maduro threatened Guaido with severe legal “consequences” for leaving the country, however, the U.S. continues to publicly support Guaido.
Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido has announced his planned return to Venezuela. Any threats or acts against his safe return will be met with a strong and significant response from the United States and the international community.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) March 4, 2019
Even with tensions high, supporters poured out in the hundreds and chanted Guaido’s name while waving the national flag outside the airport. Minutes after arriving he was ushered to a rally in the capital.
Guaido exclaimed, “We are going to achieve the end of the usurpation very soon in Venezuela.”
Maduro continues to use military tanks and shipping containers to block humanitarian aid from the U.S. and other countries at various points of entry. While millions suffer from a serious lack of nutrition and inadequate access to medical resources, he denies that there is a humanitarian crisis in his country.
Halting humanitarian resources is not Maduro’s only weapon; he has placed dozens of activists and opposition leaders in jail for voicing opposition against his socialist regime.
During a news conference last week, Maduro said, “Humanitarian aid has been turned into a spectacle to justify a military intervention into our country.”
However, media outlets like NPR have reported that Venezuelans continue to need all the help they can get.
It is estimated that three million Venezuelans have left the country as the shortage of food and hyperinflation continue to destroy the lives. The U.S. will continue to [hopefully] force the hands of each Venezuelan army member – either disobey orders and let supplies in or continue to let the people starve.
Experts like International Crisis Group’s Phil Gunson, who is based in Venezuela, predicts items such as rice, milk, and antibiotics will become even more scarce as more U.S. sanctions are put in place. These sanctions will block Venezuelan oil, which will, in turn, throw the already chaotic economy into more of a downward spiral.
Gunson also predicted these sanctions will worsen the supply of gasoline and auto parts.
Trump and approximately 50 other countries have formally recognized Guaido as the right Venezuelan president.