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Juan Guaidó (in suit, smiling) is greeted at the Caracas airport by a throng of press and supporters. Photo: Matias Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó returned to Venezuela Monday despite embattled President Nicolás Maduro's warning that he could be arrested for violating a travel ban.

Backdrop: Guaidó left Venezuela on Feb. 22, crossing into Colombia and bringing about a major showdown with Maduro the next day by attempting to bring truckloads of U.S. aid across the border. After Maduro's loyalists blocked the aid, Guaidó remained out of the country for 9 days. With the U.S. keeping a military option open, and both national security adviser John Bolton and Vice President Pence warning of a robust response if Guaidó is arrested, a showdown between Maduro and Guaidó could lead to a military confrontation.

"As Mr. Guaidó flew into the country, large military contingents surrounded the Simon Bolívar Airport. A number of European diplomats had come to the airport to offer their support," the New York Times reports.

  • Guaidó was greeted by a huge crowd of supporters at the airport, and there were demonstrations in Caracas and around the country.
  • Bolton vowed a "strong and significant" U.S. response to "threats or acts" against Guaidó, while Pence tweeted that "any threats, violence, or intimidation against him will not be tolerated & will be met with swift response."
  • Bolton was asked Sunday by CNN's Jake Tapper whether the Trump administration's support for other dictators around the world undermines its moral stand against Maduro. He invoked the Monroe Doctrine, saying: "This is a country in our hemisphere, it's been the objective of American presidents going back to Ronald Reagan to have a completely democratic hemisphere."

Go deeper with Axios Expert Voices: Venezuela stalemate calls for third-party mediation, monitored elections

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Energy and climate move closer to center stage on Capitol Hill

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The imminent enactment of Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package creates space for lawmakers and the White House to craft infrastructure plans with big climate and energy-related provisions.

Why it matters: President Biden, during the campaign, vowed to make low-carbon energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and transportation projects a big focus of an economic recovery package. And the Texas power crisis could give fresh momentum to investments in grid modernization.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The European Central Bank and the market's moment of truth

ECB president Christine Lagarde; Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The biggest event for markets this week will be Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank's governing council and the press conference following it from ECB president Christine Lagarde.

Why it matters: With interest rates jumping around the globe, investors are looking to central bank heads to see if they will follow the lead of Fed chair Jerome Powell, who says rising rates are nothing to worry about, or Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who has drawn a line in the sand on rates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's next power play

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), America's ultimate swing voter, told me on "Axios on HBO" that he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice on President Biden's next big package than they did on the COVID stimulus.

The big picture: Manchin said he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

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