Juan Guaido returns to Venezuela, risking arrest

Guaido was met by crowds of chanting supporters and several European diplomats after he touched down at Caracas airport on Monday, where he declared, “We are here in Venezuela. We are stronger than ever.” “We are going to achieve the end of the usurpation very soon in Venezuela,” he said. Guaido added that despite the risks, they won’t be stopped.”According to a senior aide, he returned on a commercial airline, Copa Airlines. Thousands gathered in Plaza Alfredo Sadel on Monday, where Guaido was due to speak. Earlier on Monday, Guaido announced his planned return to the crisis-stricken country in a tweet which included a SoundCloud audio message. “I am determined to return. By the time you hear this message, I will be on my way home,” Guaido said. “We are stronger than ever. The usurper will try to repress us but we’re stronger than ever,” he said.The 35-year-old energized the movement against Maduro in January when he declared himself acting president of Venezuela, turning himself from an obscure politician to a global figure in weeks. He crossed the border to Colombia in late February before embarking on a South American tour, meeting the presidents of Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay and Ecuador, along with United States Vice President Mike Pence — ignoring a travel ban imposed on him by the country’s Supreme Court. At least 50 countries oppose Maduro and support the opposition leader, but Guaido’s return could be a potential flashpoint in the country. On Sunday, Guaido called for protests on the streets of Venezuela on Monday and Tuesday. He said the opposition will be “going with much more force to the streets of Venezuela.” He warned the Maduro’s government that should anything happen to him, “it will be the last mistake they make.”The warning was backed by US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who tweeted that any threat to Guaido’s return “will be met with a strong and significant response from the United States and the international community.”CNN’s Flora Charner contributed to this report.