WASHINGTON – Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized by more than 50 countries as the interim president of Venezuela, described his Wednesday meeting with United States President Donald Trump at the White House as very productive.
The closed-door meeting, the first between them, came a day after Trump invited Guaido to attend his State of the Union address before Congress and praised him as Venezuela’s “legitimate” president.
“On behalf of the Venezuelans, we are here because on Jan. 5, 7 and 15 we managed to resist the onslaught of a dictatorship, resist what was the attempt to take parliament by force,” Guaido briefly told reporters.
Guaido, who is also the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, made the remarks shortly after meeting Trump, whose administration was the first to back him after he swore in as Venezuela’s interim president on Jan. 23, 2019.
“We are reiterating all the time that we have the support of the world, which is not to Juan Guaido, it is to a cause, it is to democracy, it is to freedom, it is to the possibility of seeing a continent completely free, not giving refuge to terrorists, not giving refuge to drug-traffickers,” he added.
Guaido expressed gratitude at the “commitment” expressed by Trump, who in his third State of the Union address declared that “all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom.”
“We face in Venezuela, as you know, a dictatorship that persecutes, that tortures, that kidnaps, that threatens with death, that attacked the lawmakers’ vehicle on Jan. 15, which wants to destroy a country. We will not allow it,” said Guaido, who added that “concrete actions” against Maduro will be announced at the right time.
“We are looking for the actions, the opportunities, the tools to once again develop a country that fights,” the opposition leader said.
Guaido arrived on Wednesday at the South Portico entrance of the White House accompanied by the man he has designated as his interim foreign relations minister, Julio Borges.
He was greeted by Trump, wearing his signature red tie and the two leaders posed for the cameras before heading inside.
Though it was understood reporters and photographers would be given access to the Oval Office, at least during the first part of the meeting, access was denied at the last moment.
This sparked speculation that Trump wanted to avoid questions about his pending acquittal in the Senate on the articles of impeachment filed against him by the Democrat-controlled House in December.
Guaido spent Tuesday night in a Washington house reserved for foreign officials invited to White House meetings and the Venezuelan flag was flown there the day after amid heavy security measures.