The Journal Gazette
Sunday, February 02, 2020 1:00 am

Venezuelan opposition leader speaks in Miami

Associated Press

MIAMI – Venezuela's Juan Guaidó told a large crowd of cheering expatriates in Miami on Saturday that he will soon make his return to Caracas from an international tour, bringing with him the “world's backing” to oust President Nicolás Maduro.

“We have a plan. We have a strategy,” Guaidó said. “We're not alone, and we're going to restore democracy.”

The opposition leader bent on unseating the socialist president, however, presented few details for executing this plan, saying additional sanctions are “the only strategy” available.

Guaidó's visit to Miami rounds out a two-week world tour that took him first to Colombia, then across Europe and Canada, where he held meetings with a list of world leaders. He delivered a message that Venezuelans are pressing for freedom from a “dictator,” but they need help.

A key meeting absent from Guaidó's trip was with his most important ally, President Donald Trump, who earlier in the day tweeted a picture of himself golfing at his Florida Mar-a-Lago club, saying he was, “Getting a little exercise.”

An estimated 3,500 people crowded into a Miami convention center to hear Guaidó, the most promising opposition political figure to surface in years with the chance of ending two decades of rule launched by the late President Hugo Chávez. Guaidó urged the crowd to remain unified and to resist, despite living away from Venezuela.

“All options are on the table, but also under the table,” Guaidó said. “There are things that are not talked about. All necessary actions will be used to finally liberate Venezuela.”

Guaidó, 36, rose a year ago to prominence, named leader of the opposition-led National Assembly. He won backing from the U.S. and nearly 60 nations that considered Maduro's 2018 election a fraud and blamed his socialist policies for the crisis that's driving mass migration and threatening the region's stability.

Maduro, however, has maintained power with firm backing of the military and key foreign allies, including China, Cuba and Turkey.

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