Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó spent the last three weeks on a world tour during which the global elite feted him as Venezuela’s true president, but when he returned home Tuesday, he was greeted by angry crowds of pro-government demonstrators who attacked him, chanting “murderer” and “fascist.”
One employee of the state-run airline Conviasa even poured a can of soda on him.
Guaidó arrived home on a commercial flight from Lisbon on Tuesday, having departed the country just over three weeks ago in defiance of a travel ban imposed by President Nicolás Maduro’s government.
But any fears of Guaidó being detained were unfounded: He breezed through Customs and tweeted out a picture of himself at passport control.
However, in the arrivals hall, Guaidó was confronted by an angry mob of Maduro supporters who pulled and dragged the politician, who tried and failed to overthrow Maduro in a coup last year.
More pro-government demonstrators greeted him outside, hitting his car with sticks and traffic cones while shouting abuse, calling him a “dirty traitor.” Some journalists covering Guaidó’s return reported being attacked and robbed during the incident.
The scenes at Simón Bolívar International Airport on Tuesday were a marked departure from what Guaidó experienced during his 23-day world tour, which was designed to drum up support for a renewed push to oust Maduro.
He was feted at the World Economic Forum in Davos and cheered as a hero by supporters in Spain. He was welcomed as the official head of state by Boris Johnson in the U.K. and Emmanuel Macron in France, two of 50 countries that recognize him as Venezuela’s true leader.