Venezuela’s Guaido Begins National Tour

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido began a tour of his country Saturday in Valencia, part of his effort to oust embattled President Nicolas Maduro. 

Guaido tweeted photos of the day’s activities, attended a service at Valencia Cathedral and visited a local market, greeting crowds of supporters in both places.  

In Spanish, he tweeted, “Those who live here and who come to buy what little they can are hardworking people who deserve to live better.”  

He said that while the Saturday market is usually full of “hustle and joy,” on this particular day it was instead full of the cries for hope and freedom.   

Guaido said people were feeling the consequences of Venezuela’s economic crisis, caused by what he called “an inhuman system that destroyed the production and purchasing power of our people.” 

Guaido has been recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader by most Western countries, including the United States and many Latin American nations.  

On Friday, the Inter-American Development Bank, Latin America’s largest regional lender, officially recognized the Venezuelan representative designated by Guaido. It was the first multilateral institution to take such action.  

The bank’s move was a major setback for Maduro. It could eventually free up development lending to Venezuela if Maduro were to step down. 

Guaido named Harvard University economist Ricardo Hausmann, an exiled former Venezuelan government minister, as his representative to the IDB, forcing a vote by the lender’s 48-member board of governors. 

In another development Friday, American Airlines said it had temporarily suspended its operations into Caracas and Maracaibo, citing safety concerns in Venezuela.  

The decision came after the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory urging Americans to avoid Venezuela “due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.” 

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