Venezuelan Maduro warns arrest of opposition leader “will come”

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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro warns Friday that the arrest of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has the backing of the United States and nearly 60 other nations, "will come."

Maduro made the remarks in a media meeting three days after Guaidó returned from a tour of the United States and Europe, in violation of a court order prohibiting him from leaving the country.

Despite the order, migration officials let Guaidó enter the country after arriving on a commercial flight to Venezuela’s main international airport. Pro-government protesters there sprayed him with liquid and grabbed his shirt as he passed through a crowd.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds a copy of his country's case before the International Criminal Court regarding US sanctions during a press conference at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday. (AP)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds a copy of his country's case before the International Criminal Court regarding US sanctions during a press conference at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday. (AP)

Maduro said Friday that Guaidó would be imprisoned the day the Venezuelan justice system decides that he should be imprisoned "for all the crimes he has committed".

GUAIDO MEETS MANIFESTANTS AT VENEZUELA AIRPORT

"This day has not yet come," he said in response to a question from the Associated Press. "But it will come. "

Yet analysts and opponents of Maduro argue that the justice system in Venezuela cannot be viewed as independent from the executive, and that it effectively acts as an arm of state power.

Guaidó's trip marked the second time he has traveled outside of Venezuela despite the ban. On both occasions, he was allowed to return to the country.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido greets his supporters during a rally at Bolivar Plaza in Chacao, a municipality in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday. (AP)
Opposition leader Juan Guaido greets his supporters at a rally at Bolivar Plaza in Chacao, a municipality in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday. (AP)

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The 36-year-old opposition leader has been in a tense power struggle with Maduro since he proclaimed himself the legitimate president of the country last year. Guaidó's last international trip, during which he met President Trump in the White House, was an attempt to consolidate his support as his anti-government movement struggled to gain momentum and Maduro consolidated his power.

Guaidó has won the support of the United States and dozens of countries that viewed the 2018 election of Maduro as fraud and blamed his socialist policies for the crisis that is causing massive migration and threatening regional stability.

Andrew News’s Andrew Dan’s Wallace and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.

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