Despite threats of his arrest, Guaido returns home

The opposition leader managed to enter Venezuela without obstruction

Photo: EPA President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, speaks during a rally with supporters on Monday

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has returned to his country without being arrested, while announcing a new round of anti-government protests and vowing not to give up until President Nicolas Maduro is ousted from power.

“We continue to mobilise, showing our faces to the people,” Guaido told reporters, supporters and several European and American ambassadors who welcomed him at the airport. “We are strong and we continue to go forward. We will end this usurpation very soon.”

"Hope was born in order not to die," Guaido told then thousands of supporters who filled the Alfredo Sadel square in Caracas on Monday, after he called for nationwide anti-government demonstrations to coincide with his return.

"The time to achieve change in Venezuela is now," he continued, pointing out that hundreds of soldiers had already turned against Maduro by crossing into Colombia. As the crowd was chanting his name, Guaido also said he would also try to rally public sector employees with whose trade unions he would meet on Tuesday.

The opposition leader, whom about 60 countries have recognised as Venezuela's interim president, returned home on Monday after a nine-day tour of Latin American countries, where he oversaw an attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela and mustered support for his anti-government campaign. He decided to leave the country despite a travel ban imposed by Maduro, who in the meantime has continued to threaten the young leader with imprisonment.

But pressure mounted on the government not to detain the legislative leader, with US Vice President Mike Pence warning on Monday that his safe return to Venezuela "is of the highest importance to the US".

"Any threats, violence or intimidation against him will not be tolerated and will be met with swift response," Pence tweeted.

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