Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido mocked President Maduro's easily 'duped' security forces after sneaking out the country
- Despite the threat of arrest, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has returned to Venezuela after escaping the country and defying a travel ban.
- The politician made a speech today after returning to the country from an international tour.
- Guaidó had made his way across various nations to shore up support for his claim as the rightful leader of Venezuela, urging leaders to crack down on Maduro's authoritarian socialist regime.
- Speaking in Davos, Guaidó told how he risked his family's safety and "duped" Maduro's security forces to escape Venezuela under the travel ban.
- He also spoke of how Maduro's forces tried to extort a fellow politician suffering from cancer, how journalists are being killed over tweets, and what he feels must happen to end Venezuela's social crisis.
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After launching the second year of his campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro, Juan Guaidó defied a travel ban and managed to slip out of Venezuela.
As part of his international tour, Guaidó made his way across Colombia, Canada, and various nations in Europe, in a bid to encourage the countries' respective leaders to throw their weight behind him, imploring them to come down harder on Maduro's authoritarian socialist regime.
Over the last four years, the US government has imposed an array of sanctions against individuals and bodies in Venezuela and the Trump administration was one of the first among 60 governments to support Guaidó, calling Maduro out as a "dictator" - but the momentum behind Guaidó's movement has slowed somewhat.
Guaidó has not delivered the change Trump's administration and Venezuela's opposition were looking for. In spite of an attempted coup, anti-government protests, and US sanctions, Maduro is still in charge of Venezuela.
Despite facing the threat of arrest, today, Guaidó made a speech to the people of Venezuela shortly after returning to the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Davos, Guaidó told Business Insider and a small group of other media how he escaped under a travel ban, what he believes lies ahead for Venezuelans, and what he feels must be done to put an end to the ongoing social crisis in the country.
How he escaped Venezuela's travel ban
Juan Guaidó: Escaping came at great risk, I must admit. Not just personal risk; risk for my family, for my team.
We had to dupe the state security forces who were in Colombia and were still following me around in Caracas a day later.
I must say, though, they're not very efficient.
The risks of being a politician in Venezuela
Guaidó: There are many risks in Venezuela today.
The day before I was elected as president of the parliament by the majority on January 5th, they [Maduro's security forces] went looking for a politician called Addy Valero at her home.
Valero was suffering from cancer.
As a cancer patient in Venezuela, you're basically sentenced to death through lack of affordable treatment.
They tried to extort her, telling her she was going to die, that they'd do something to her family… they offered her up to $1.5 million to go and vote against me.
She said: "I can die but Venezuela isn't going to die for my vote," and there she died.
'The risk is there every day'
Guaidó: The risk is there every day in Venezuela ... walking to the border, crossing a bridge, going to the office, jumping over walls to get to work ... the risk is there every day.
REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
In spite of that, we've shouldered the responsibility because of the duty we have at this time - not just me; everyone.
'Beaten, robbed, killed ... just for publishing a tweet'
Guaidó: I mean, I must stress how much danger Venezuela-based journalists are in.
They've been imprisoned for months, beaten, robbed, killed ... just for publishing a tweet. It's absurd.
Shortages of food, water, electricity, fuel, health care, and other basic amenities
Guaidó: For those Venezuelans who, in a way, lived through an emerging democracy, a developing economy, none of this makes sense.
The cost of opportunities is infinite - whether they're opportunities for social or economic progress, stability, or happiness.
That's why, when weighing up the costs against the benefits, the best alternative is to move towards a transition, without a shadow of a doubt.
'My generation thought we had inherited democracy, that it was simply granted'
Guaidó: Another thing we Venezuelans learned the hard way is that democracy is constantly at stake.
My generation thought we had inherited democracy, that it was simply granted.
At that stage in time, we weren't able to get involved [in politics] and we thought [democracy] would always be there.
I was young, I wasn't of voting age when Chávez came to power - but my dad said we were going to end up like Cuba, [when Castro was in power] referring to Cuba as though it were like Syria or something.
We thought that was pretty far-fetched at the time.
'Even if the allure of populism won't always be there, that of authoritarianism will'
Guaidó: The best antidote to what's currently happening is to strengthen our institutions - I'm sure there are strong institutions in many parts of the United States; there are some very fragile ones in Latin America that must be singled out, supported, and bolstered.
Even if the allure of populism won't always be there, that of authoritarianism will.
We have to strengthen the third sector, NGOs, our institutions.
And we have to always be cautious about democracy - always.