Guaidó Returns Home

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Caretaker President Juan Guaidó landed this Monday, March 4th, in the Maiquetia International Airport on a Copa Airlines flight from Panama. At the airport, diplomats from various countries were waiting for him.

Going through security controls without problems, even with affectionate greetings by airline employees, Guaidó said that he knew the risks he was facing: “That has never stopped us; we’re still on the street, still mobilized. We’re here in Venezuela. We’re here stronger,” he said while the airport reverberated with his last name in cheers.

If his exit without inconveniences was an event, the escort system provided by diplomatic cars marked another milestone. The caravan made brief stops in its route up the Caracas-La Guaira freeway until arriving to Alfredo Sadel Sq., where he spoke with an emotion that’s hard to describe for anyone who hasn’t seen the full picture and he even managed to scramble up the scaffoldings of one of the speakers.

A brief speech

“Someone didn’t act. Many didn’t act,” said Guaidó to his audience gathered at Alfredo Sadel Sq. about all the threats that preceded his arrival. The detention that didn’t happen, in his view, is evidence that the chain of command is broken: “Because the commander of the Armed Forces derives from popular vote and the usurper isn’t president, no matter how much he tries to dress with a presidential sash because this is carnival.” Guaidó asked the military “What more are you waiting for?” when restating the request of withdrawing their support for Nicolás’s regime, aware that 80% of them favor change. He called for a march next Saturday to redouble pressure on the regime: “We won’t stop a single moment until we’ve retaken our freedom,” said Guaidó, repeating the importance of demonstrations in this route to transition. He also addressed public servants and union leaders, whom he’ll meet this Tuesday, March 5th. “The world will support us, but we’re the ones who have to advance with the union of all sectors, we’re powerful citizens,” said Guaidó. Everyone was euphoric, for his return, yes, but also for the way in which he returned.

Reactions

The presence of the diplomatic corps in Maiquetia was invaluable. Almost at the same time as Guaidó’s arrival, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence cautioned that if his safety was at risk, there would be a swift response; while State Secretary Mike Pompeo celebrated that the military and security staff did the right thing by letting Guaidó in, and cheered the people for their actions to create a peaceful and democratic transition. For Colombian President Iván Duque, the return through Maiquetia “is evidence of the irreversible path that Venezuela’s walking towards democracy”; his Foreign Minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, saw in the crowd that accompanied the arrival, “the greatest evidence that sooner rather than later, the sister nation will live in democracy and freedom.”

Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio restated his country’s firm support for Guaidó in his fight for the return of democracy in Venezuela.

Meanwhile regime Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that international support for Juan Guaidó should be considered a crime of “illegal warmongering meddling.”

Other movements on the board

The United Nations said that they were closely following Juan Guaidó’s return to Venezuela, underlining the importance of a dialogue to find a solution to the political conflict. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and María Fernanda Espinosa, president of the United Nations General Assembly, discussed the Venezuelan crisis yesterday at a meeting in Brussels, debating the concrete actions promoted by the International Contact Group created by the EU to try and facilitate a peaceful, political and democratic solution, the only one possible. Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela expressed his trust that Juan Guaidó will pull Venezuela from the profound political and social crisis, while Delcy Rodríguez said that Guaidó’s behavior and activities “will be studied by state institutions” to take appropriate measures. It was really funny to hear her claim that the Venezuelan regime “has solid and sustainable institutions.” Juan Guaidó appointed economist Ricardo Hausmann as the country’s main governor before the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and before the Inter-American Investment Corporation.

The mammoth just can’t

What did they tell you in immigration? “They said welcome, Mr. President,” Guaidó joked to the press when he left the airport. It wasn’t through back trails, at night, with a day of advantage or with an action double taking up his role. It was through the country’s main airport, at noon, the day he said he’d come, simple and sober. Once again, Nicolás yielded. That Nicolás who could never go on a similar tour, who would never be received with this joy if he returned. That Nicolás who’s incapable of taking the risks that Juan Guaidó took, who couldn’t even climb a ladder. Guaidó’s ease, even in his manners, collapses chavismo. He’s so at ease that, right after giving his mom a long hug, he told a friend the phrase that became national trend yesterday on Twitter: “What’s up, menor?”. By taking the risk, Guaidó has unleashed the fervor of many who see in his courage a necessary trait for this crusade. He’s managed it without mass media and despite censorship. At his side, citizens are convinced of the possibility of being free, prioritizing that possibility over all the dramas of a destroyed country. Support can’t be disguised, priorities don’t wear masks. We’re in urgent need of concrete proposals to chavismo in order to advance towards a peaceful solution; it’s a complex political endeavor, but possible.

The websites of Efecto Cocuyo, El Pitazo and El Cooperante were offline due to an attack on their servers which coincided with the time of Juan Guaidó’s arrival to the country. Twitter and Soundcloud were once again blocked by CANTV. Last night, there was a blockade against images and videos on Twitter in various internet operators in Venezuela.

Chavismo’s clumsy reality-warping exercises don’t ease up censorship, but they surpass it because even state channels were forced to explain what happened with Guaidó. The censorship is astounding, we Venezuelans depend more on word of mouth, but seriously: you can’t hide the sun with one finger.

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