(Washington) Venezuelan opponent Juan Guaidó said he feared in Washington on Wednesday that if he returned to his country he “could know the fate of Navalny”, named after Russian opponent Alexei Navalny imprisoned in Russia.
Mr. Guaidó, who arrived in the United States several days ago from Colombia, from where he said he was deported, was participating in a discussion forum at the Wilson Center think tank in the capital.
“If you ask me today if I can go back to Venezuela tomorrow, like I did in 2019 and 2020, or like Navalny did (in Russia), I’m sure I could meet the same fate than him, Mr. Guaidó said.
Pro-Maduro protesters disrupted the discussion, shouting “Guaidó is a liar”, before being escorted from the room.
Juan Guaidó is not persona non grata but Washington has clearly distanced himself from the man who was once the United States’ protege.
“I am not aware of any plans” to meet with the opponent, State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said on Wednesday when asked during his daily press briefing about a possible meeting with Mr. Guaidó this week.
The latter indicated that he had meetings with American parliamentarians but no meeting with the Biden administration seems scheduled for the moment.
Mr. Guaidó is in the United States after he said he was expelled from Colombia where he made an impromptu appearance at the recent summit on reviving dialogue in Venezuela in Bogota. He denounced a political “persecution”.
He arrived on April 25 on a commercial flight in Miami, Florida, in the southeastern United States.
He told the Wilson Center on Wednesday that his wife Fabiana Rosales and two daughters were able to join him on Monday.
It was not immediately clear whether he intended to seek asylum in the United States.
The opponent has been officially banned from leaving Venezuela since 2019 and prosecuted by the justice of his country in particular for “treason”.
Juan Guaidó was considered by the United States as his country’s de facto president in early 2019, following the disputed May 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro. But at the end of 2022, the divided Venezuelan opposition ended the “interim government” of Mr. Guaidó.