Mexico City – A Venezuelan court has ordered the detention of opposition leader Juan Guaido’s uncle, his lawyer said on Thursday.
The lawyer said that this happened after his client was held upon returning from an international tour to support Guaido’s campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
Juan Marques was first held on Tuesday after arriving at the country’s main airport as part of a Guaido-led delegation to the U.S. and Europe, during which the self-declared interim president notably received backing from U.S. President Donald Trump.
“The intention is not to imprison Marques because he is a criminal, but rather to attack president Juan Guaido,” the uncle’s lawyer, Joel Garcia, said outside the military counterintelligence headquarters in northern Caracas.
“This is the true reason for Juan Marquez’s detention,” Garcia said, adding that Venezualan authorities now had 45 days to come up with charges against Marques.
Diosdado Cabello, one of the most senior officials in Maduro’s government, said on national television late Wednesday that Marquez had been hiding explosives inside a vest when he arrived at the airport.
Maduro, who won a second term in a controversial election in 2018, has presided over an economic meltdown that has caused a mass exodus from Venezuela and has prompted mass demonstrations against his rule.
Guaido’s January 2019 self-declaration as interim president was met with international support, notably from U.S. and EU leaders.
However his efforts to oust Maduro have struggled since key figures in the country’s powerful military reconfirmed their allegiance to Maduro. (dpa/NAN)