Juan Guaido reacted to the attack that his supporters suffered at the hands of pro-government armed groups in Barquisimeto, Lara state yesterday, which included a man pointing a pistol at the opposition leader.
That moment was captured in an image published by the Associated Press shortly after a colectivo armado (a pro-government armed group) attacked opposition supporters at a rally that Guaido was leading in the city.
According to one witness, the colectivo assaulted and robbed some supporters. The attackers also shot at a vehicle that belonged to Guaido’s caravan, riddling it with bullet holes.
A 16-year-old named Yorbis Lucena was shot in the leg by one of the colectivos. He has since been released from hospital.
Through his Twitter account, Guaido reacted to the violence by saying:
Seeing the dictatorship point a weapon at me and at my people is neither intimidating nor frightening. I knew what I was getting into when I started this.
What is unforgivable is the fact that a 16 year old was seriously injured, when all he was doing was speaking out for his right to live in freedom.
In a video message shared on his Twitter account, Guaido said that what he experienced was an assassination attempt. He said:
The cowardly dictatorship attempted to assassinate me. Our vehicle has more than nine bullet holes on it (…) They fired their weapons near us. They pointed [a weapon] at me. But this will not slow us down.
In Venezuela, the term colectivo (or colectivo armado) is used to refer to armed groups of people in civilian clothing who attack, intimidate or otherwise intimidate opposition supporters and politicians. These groups play an important role in the Maduro regime’s repressive toolbox, since they allow it to attack dissidents without having to resort to uniformed police officers or soldiers.
Guaido also said:
I’ve put my life at the service of this cause. If something happens to me, someone will take my place and the path to freedom will be opened. If they [the regime] thinks that this is about a single person, then they do not understand anything.
Bloomberg: Brazil To Close Embassy in Venezuela
Bloomberg reported today that the Bolsonaro government is set to close its embassy in Venezuela in the coming two months with the goal of increasing the “isolation” of the Maduro regime.
According to Bloomberg, the news came via a Brazilian official who is not allowed to discuss it publicly yet:
The official, who’s directly involved in the process but isn’t allowed to discuss it publicly, said Brazilian and pro-Maduro officials will start discussing their respective diplomatic representations as early as next week. Brazil expects to withdraw its officials from Caracas in two months, the person said.
The Bolsonaro government recognizes Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
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