WASHINGTON – Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized as interim president of the South American country by more than 50 nations, hailed his international tour a success on Thursday in Washington.
Guaido said the tour, which he began Jan. 19, shows he managed to politically defeat the regime of Venezuela’s embattled incumbent Nicolas Maduro.
“Our international tour is coming to an end, a tour stating that Venezuela resisted, that we managed to defeat Maduro’s dictatorship politically, that we managed to defeat it not only in politics but also in support, in support of citizenship and the world,” Guaido said.
Guaido, formally the president of his country’s parliament, said that with his journey he had managed to defeat “a dictator who now relies on terrorists, criminal groups, to simply lengthen the agony of Venezuelans.”
He said the visit had also served to “seek to take action,” including labeling Venezuelan gold “blood gold” due to the destruction of the Amazon and other crimes associated with its exploitation.
“It is inevitable that change will happen in Venezuela,” he said, adding that this is needed “to resolve and address the humanitarian emergency” in his country.
Guaido addressed the press after meeting with the secretary general of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro, in the last of the public activities of his Thursday agenda, which opened with a visit to the United States Agency for International Development.
Almagro said, on the other hand, that there is “a lot of work to be done restore democracy in Venezuela,” the institutions and the “fullest validity of human rights.”
After his visit to the organization, Guaido greeted a group of Venezuelans who gathered in Washington.
“We are not alone. In every corner we have gone we have not an ambassador […] we have thousands of ambassadors bearing the name of Venezuela that did not give up, that do not give up, that seek to return to their country, that seek rebuild, that seek to heal too, “he said.
Guaido said the praise he received during those days was not for him but for all Venezuelans “who has fought again and again,” adding he would return to his country “in the next few days.”
He met prior with United States State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who promised he would continue efforts to help the Venezuelan people end Maduro’s grip on power.
Guaido also met with the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking Democrat in Washington, who took the opportunity to launch a veiled attack on the Republican Party and US President Donald Trump.
Pelosi said the Venezuelan crisis worries her deeply and that Democrats in the House of Representatives approved a legislative project to grant Venezuelans living in the US an immigration permit to live and work in the country, known as the Temporary Protection Statute.
Trump has so far refused to support the initiative, approved by the Lower House and stalled in the Senate – held by the Republican Party.
On Wednesday, Trump received Guaido at the White House, in what was a boost to the opposition leader, who a day earlier was invited to the third State of the Union speech the president delivered before Congress.
The Trump administration was the first to recognize Guaido as interim president after he was proclaimed Jan. 23, 2019 after invoking a constitutional clause.
Guaido, who during his visit to Washington stayed at the residence reserved for the official guests of the White House, also met with the president of the Inter-American Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno.