Guaido Addresses Davos, Fails to Secure Meeting with Trump

The Venezuelan opposition leader called for more international “pressure” on the Maduro government ahead of visits to France and Spain.

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Venezuelan opposition politician spoke at the World Economic Forum on Thursday in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday. (Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)
Venezuelan opposition politician spoke at the World Economic Forum on Thursday in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday. (Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)
By Lucas Koerner
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Santiago de Chile, January 23, 2020 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday.

Addressing the summit – an annual destination for Western political and economic elites–, the lawmaker called on foreign countries to continue backing his ongoing effort to oust the Maduro government.

“Today we have the tools of the international community, pressure from different spaces. Together united we will achieve a truly free, transparent election,” he declared.

The speech came on the one-year anniversary of Guaido’s self-proclamation as “interim president” with the support of Washington and its allies, which had previously refused to recognize the 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro.

At the time, Guaido led mass anti-government street demonstrations, with many analysts predicting the imminent collapse of the Maduro administration. Over the subsequent twelve months, the opposition leader led several unsuccessful attempts to topple Maduro by force, seeing his popularity in Venezuela fall amid a slew of corruption scandals.

On Sunday, he once again defied a court-issued travel ban, crossing into Colombia as part of a new international tour aimed at reinvigorating flagging international support.

After sitting down with Colombian President Ivan Duque and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Bogota, Guaido went on to meet UK Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels.

At Davos, it was reported that the opposition leader was set to meet with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the summit. However, the face-to-face encounter did not materialize, with the US leader returning to Washington the day before.

Asked about Venezuela, Trump made no mention of Guaido, telling reporters, “I think Venezuela will do very well. You just watch.”

Guaido did, nevertheless, meet with other Western leaders at the forum, including US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In the coming days, Guaido is scheduled to travel to Spain, France, and possibly the United States. Under pressure from left-wing coalition partners, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has declined to sit down with the opposition leader, while US Secretary of State played down the possibility of a meeting with Trump, telling press, “we’ll have to see.”

Guaido and other opposition leaders have repeatedly urged Western governments to impose further sanctions in Venezuela, a call he reiterated on Wednesday, referring to economic measures as “the tools that the free world has.”

Since 2017, the Trump administration has imposed successive rounds of harsh economic sanctions targeting key sectors of the Venezuelan economy including an oil embargo and most recently a blanket ban on dealings with Venezuelan state entities.

The European Union, for its part, has slapped Caracas with an arms embargo on top of sanctions against top Venezuelan officials, but has yet to follow Washington in imposing unilateral economic measures.

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