Former Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó arrives in Miami

A few years ago, the former Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, led thousands of protestors in demanding the resignation of the country’s authoritarian regime. Internationally recognized as Venezuela’s interim president, he promised a democratic transition and an end to the nation’s political crisis. 

Now removed from his seat as interim president by Venezuela’s opposition coalition, Guaidó arrived on Monday at Miami International Airport. He had entered Colombia to attend an international conference discussing solutions to the political crisis in Venezuela, but was not allowed to stay.

Guaidó blamed Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro for the problem.

“They are kicking me out of Colombia, the dictatorship’s persecution has, sadly, reached this country,” said Guaidó in a video shared on his social media.

Only hours after entering Colombia, Guaidó told the Associated Press, he was threatened with deportation by immigration officials, But with help from U.S. diplomats he obtained tickets to Miami. 

Guaidó, who lost his position as leader of the Venezuelan political opposition in December last year, crossed the Colombian border irregularly to avoid Venezuelan authorities. He has been  detained several times without a warrant or due process. 

He intended to meet with diplomats attending an international conference held in San Carlos Colombia, where representatives of 19 countries and the E.U. met to find a path to democratic transition in Venezuela. 

Colombian President Gustavo Petro said on Twitter that Guaidó had a previous agreement to get to the United States and that they could have provided political asylum had Guaidó requested it. “We allowed this movement for humanitarian reasons, despite illegally entering our country,” said Petro on Twitter. 

This event confirms a new age in Venezuelan international politics. 

After years of diplomatic isolation, the Venezuelan regime has obtained new-found leverage for negotiation in part due to the fuel insecurity crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Petro, the first leftist president of Colombia, visited Caracas on November 1, 2022, resuming diplomatic relations with Maduro’s regime. Which had halted in 2019 during Ivan Duque’s administration. 

Other countries that had previously ended bilateral relations like Brazil also resumed dialog diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan regime

Even the United States, which during the administration of Donald Trump called for more coordinated sanctions against Venezuela , has eased oil sanctions against Venezuela in an effort to push negotiations forward. 

Samuel Larreal is a Venezuelan journalism student with a concentration in political science and international relations. He is interested in reporting on human rights, immigration and civic freedom.