Venezuelan Opposition Leader Greeted By Enraged Mob at Airport

Venezuela’s Henrique Capriles has been confronted by angry protesters on Margarita Island, less than a week after he praised locals for giving President Nicolas Maduro a similar welcome.

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Henrique Capriles was trapped in a Venezuelan airport for four hours Wednesday night. (Screengrab of Youtube footage uploaded by user Lechuginos)
Henrique Capriles was trapped in a Venezuelan airport for four hours Wednesday night. (Screengrab of Youtube footage uploaded by user Lechuginos)
By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
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Puebla, Mexico, September 9, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – One of Venezuela’s most prolific opposition figures was trapped in an airport late Wednesday by masses of furious protesters, according to reports Thursday.

In footage circulated online, former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles could be clearly seen stranded inside the Santiago Marino International Airport on Venezuela’s Margarita Island. Outside, doors were blocked by crowds of protesters.

“Get out, Capriles, get out!” they shouted.

Taking to social media, Capriles claimed the protesters were armed, and blamed President Nicolas Maduro.

“Maduro sent armed groups to the airport in Margarita, besieging passengers, children, and everyone,” he stated.

“I hold him responsible for what happens,” Capriles added.

In the footage circulated online, no weapons could be seen.

According to local media, the protests blocked Capriles from leaving the airport for four hours. AP has reported the stand off between the beleaguered politician and frustrated locals ended sometime after midnight, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Currently governor of Miranda state, Capriles ran against Maduro in a tight presidential race in 2013. He lost a previous presidential election by a landslide in 2012 to Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez. Today, Capriles is one of the opposition’s most well known faces.

Yet Capriles’ embarrassing welcome to Margarita came less than a week after social media users said Maduro faced similar protests. During a visit to the island, opposition activists say Maduro was chased through the streets by angry locals bashing pots and pans. Footage of the incident quickly went viral, though throughout the grainy video it’s difficult to clearly identify the president.

Opposition groups say dozens of their supporters were later detained in connection with the incident. At the time, Capriles praised the protesters, describing them as acting “without fear”.

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