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Venezuela's Guaido arrives in Brazil to meet with president


AFP Sao Paulo
Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido arrived early Thursday in Brazil for talks aimed at securing more support from President Jair Bolsonaro, press reports said.
Guaido, recognized as interim president by some 50 countries, traveled to the capital Brasilia from Colombia, where he has stayed since Friday despite a travel ban imposed by the regime of Venezuela's socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.
There are fears he might be arrested upon his return to Venezuela.
Guaido arrived in Brasilia around 0440 GMT, the news website G1 reported.
Bolsonaro "will host Guaido in a personal visit, although Guaido will be officially welcomed by the minister for foreign affairs," Ernesto Araujo, said the Brazilian presidency's spokesman Otavio Rego Barros.
He said the meeting with Bolsonaro would take place at 2:00 pm (1700 GMT) at the president's official workplace, Planalto Palace.
A statement from Guaido's envoy to Brazil, Maria Teresa Belandria, said he would also meet "a number of representatives of the diplomatic delegations in Brasilia (that) have recognized him as Venezuela's legitimate interim president." Brazil and Colombia are Guaido allies that have been stockpiling humanitarian aid the National Assembly speaker wants to bring into Venezuela.
He failed to do so over the weekend, as a military blockade ordered by Maduro held firm.
Guaido had not yet decided if he will visit the border area with Venezuela where four people were killed in weekend clashes with Maduro's security services, a source in his camp said.
He met US Vice President Mike Pence at a Lima Group meeting with regional allies in Bogota on Monday, after which he said he would return home this week, despite having received threats.
"A prisoner is no use to anyone. Neither is a president in exile," Guaido told NTN24 television channel on Tuesday.
"My role and my duty is to be in Caracas, despite the risks and regardless of what that implies." Maduro told US channel ABC News that Guaido would have to face justice when he returns as he flouted a ban on foreign travel.
Guaido has dismissed Maduro's authority as illegitimate over his controversial re-election in May polls that were boycotted by the opposition because many of its leaders were prevented from standing.
Venezuela has been struck by a humanitarian crisis that has left millions in poverty amid chronic shortages of basic necessities such as food and medication.

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First Published: Feb 28 2019 | 12:45 PM IST

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