Juan Guaidó has been trying to force Venezuela's ruler Nicolás Maduro out of office for three years - so far without success. During a site visit, the opposition figure is now being attacked by an angry crowd. Guaidó's team suspects henchmen of the regime to be behind the crime.
The Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó was physically attacked by an aggressive crowd during an on-site visit. Videos shared on social media and by the news portal El Nacional show him being insulted, pushed and objects thrown at him during a visit to the city of San Carlos in Cojedes state on Saturday. One photo shows Guaidó with his shirt torn. It is still unclear whether the 38-year-old was injured.
Armed henchmen of President Nicolás Maduro's "dictatorship" violently attacked Guaidó and beat members of his team, Guaidó's presidential office said in a statement. The car in which Guaidó drove away was shot at and hit by several bullets. A former candidate for the governorship of Cojedes from the governing socialist party PSUV was among the ringleaders of the attackers.
"We are deeply concerned by the unprovoked attack on President Guaidó and his colleagues," said Brian Nichols, the US Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. "Life was risked in this egregious attack."
Guaidó declared himself interim president of the South American country in early 2019 and has been trying to force Maduro out of office ever since. Although he initially received a lot of support from Western countries, he was never able to assert himself in Venezuela itself. Most recently, he also lost a lot of support in his home country. The United States continues to recognize Guaidó as the democratically elected President of the National Assembly and interim head of state, the White House confirmed on Wednesday after a phone call between him and US President Joe Biden.