On the 24th of February Diosdado Cabello, chavista strongman who moves behind the scenes, leads an important sector of the military, and contends a considerable portion of government power in the country, promised to wait for the return of Interim President Juan Guaidó with a “reception committee” in Maiquetía in what could only be interpreted as a direct threat of detention. Yet Guiadó, now Venezuela´s most popular political figure (Datanalisis polls indicates that Guaidó would obtain 77% of votes against Maduro in a presidential election), was received not by military personal or intelligence officers, but rather large crowds of supporters and international diplomatic representatives. Migrations officer offered no obstacles to his entry, but rather facilitated his access via the VIP line used for government officials and diplomats. From the airport he travelled directly to the mobilizations in Caracas, stopping only briefly in the highway to salute his supporters in a Hollywood like display of popular support. It is safe to say that Nicolás Maduro and his allies decided that the political cost of detaining such a high-profile opposition leader outweighed the costs of allowing him to continue his activities with relative freedom in Venezuela.
Guaidó´s return was not only a triumphal act of defiance, but also the closure to a tour of Latin-American countries that have supported his interim presidency. Visiting Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Ecuador and Panama, he was able to meet face to face with his diplomatic representatives in those countries, and more importantly, with the political leadership of key Latin-American players members of the Group of Lima that are advocating for democratic transition. Not a small feat after the enormous but rather disappointing events (international concert followed by aid delivery attempt) on the border and the impossibility of introducing international assistance into Venezuela.
Yet the clock is ticking, and that is good news for Nicolás Maduro. Since 2013 it has become clear that time usually plays in favor of chavismo and their relentless grasp of power, as it contributes to the demoralization and demobilization of Venezuelan society which is frequently too exhausted from generalized hardships to be preoccupied with street protests that have presented few results in the past while they are also relatively dangerous considering the systematic actions of government forces against them.
Meanwhile, at the highest levels of international dispute, the United Nations Security Council, the powers with vested interests in Venezuela are at a standstill. Two draft resolutions were presented by the United States and Russia, both went unapproved.