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Brazil leader Bolsonaro welcomes Venezuela's Guaido in show of support

By Renzo Pipoli
Brazil leader Bolsonaro welcomes Venezuela's Guaido in show of support
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) speaks next to Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido Thursday at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil. Photo by Joedson Alves/EPA-EFE

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro offered support Thursday to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the self-declared "interim leader" deals with the ongoing power struggle with President Nicolas Maduro.

The two met at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia Thursday.

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"We will not spare any efforts, obviously within the legality of our constitution and our traditions, so that democracy is re-established in Venezuela," Bolsonaro said, G1 reported.

"We all know this will be possible through, not just elections but clean and trustworthy elections," he added.

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While Bolsonaro and Guaido met, a group of protesters across the street opposed Guaido's presence.

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo said he's prepared to meet with Guaido in Asuncion Friday for an official visit.

The National Assembly in Venezuela has extended Guaido's international travel authority to cover the trip, El Nacional reported.

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Guaido left Venezuela last Friday to pick up humanitarian aid in Colombia. The plan failed, however, and the supplies did not enter Venezuela. Guaido, who defied a travel ban to go to Colombia, has said he'll return to Venezuela within days.

Dozens of citizens in the municipality of Gran Sabana in Bolivar state were detained for protesting in support of relief aid, El Nacional reported. Eighteen were arrested and accused of inciting hate, a crime that carries a 20-year term.

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Attorney Olnar Ortiz of the non-government organization Foro Penal Venezuela said the number of protesters arrested is likely higher.

RELATED More than 60 Venezuelan troops defect amid blockade of aid

Guaido assumed the interim presidency last month after the National Assembly declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate. Maduro has refused to acknowledge a crisis or let aid into the country.

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