(Caracas) Venezuelan opponent Juan Guaidó was “forced” to leave Colombia on Monday evening, hours after announcing his arrival in the country for an international conference on Venezuela, according to concordant sources.
Bogota “forced” him to leave, said an opposition source who requested anonymity, adding without giving further details that the opponent was on a “commercial flight” to ” the United States “.
Colombian authorities, who had spoken of an “inappropriate entry” into the country, claimed that Mr. Guaidó had been “drove to El Dorado Airport (Bogota)”, according to a statement issued in the evening.
At the initiative of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, around 20 countries, including the United States and France, were to meet in Bogota on Tuesday to try to restart negotiations that began in Mexico City in August 2021, but have stalled. since November. However, neither the opposition nor the Venezuelan authorities were invited.
“I have just arrived in Colombia, as millions of Venezuelans have done before me, on foot,” Guaidó wrote on social media, alluding to the 7 million Venezuelans who fled the country in due to the economic and political crisis.
Guaidó did not specify how he crossed the border, but it is very easy to cross it at Cucuta, in northeastern Colombia, bordering western Venezuela.
The opponent is officially banned from leaving the territory and is the subject of several procedures of the Venezuelan justice, including one for “treason”.
Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva had reminded the press that Mr. Guaidó was not invited to the conference and stressed: “If he does not report [to the police], he is at risk because he entered inappropriately”.
In his statement, Mr. Guaidó “hopes that the summit can ensure that the Maduro regime returns to the negotiating table in Mexico and that a credible timetable for free and fair elections is agreed upon as a solution to the conflict”.
Colombia was Mr. Guaidó’s main ally in the region when it was chaired by Mr. Petro’s predecessor, the conservative Ivan Duque who had severed diplomatic relations with Mr. Maduro.
Mr. Petro, Colombia’s first left-wing president, moved closer to Caracas, restoring diplomatic relations and involving himself in the political negotiation process in Venezuela. Last Thursday, he asked US President Joe Biden to gradually lift sanctions against Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is also not invited, dismissed the importance of the conference on public television: “If anyone among [them] aspires for the negotiations […] to return to Mexico , you just have to do one thing […]: require the United States to deposit the 3.2 billion dollars in the bank accounts […] for the social plan signed in Mexico in November”.
It refers to the payment to funds frozen by international sanctions, and which were to be used for social programs according to an agreement between power and the opposition in November.
Mr. Maduro also criticized Mr. Guaidó’s visit, calling it “untimely, untimely … and foolish.”