Top Stories
Top Stories
World Politics

Venezuela's top court seeks to strip Guaido's legal immunity — raising fears of arrest

Key Points
  • On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Maikel Moreno said Guaido should be prosecuted for violating a travel ban, after the National Assembly leader toured several Latin American countries a few weeks ago.
  • The Supreme Court has already banned Guaido from holding office for a period of 15 years and arrested his chief of staff on terrorism charges.
  • Fabiana Rosales, a 26-year-old activist and the wife of opposition leader Juan Guaido, recently said she had grave concerns about the safety of her husband.
VIDEO6:1606:16
Venezuela's Juan Guaidó is going up against Maduro's regime

Venezuela's Supreme Court has called for opposition leader Juan Guaido to be stripped of his parliamentary immunity, in a move that could soon lead to his imprisonment.

On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Maikel Moreno said Guaido should be prosecuted for violating a travel ban, after the National Assembly leader toured several Latin American countries a few weeks ago.

The pro-government Constituent Assembly is expected to back the request over the coming days.

It comes at a time when Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro are locked in a battle for power in the oil-rich, but cash-poor, country.

The court ruling fueled has fears that Guaido could soon face arrest at the direction of Maduro. However, analysts told CNBC on Tuesday that such a move remained unlikely given the threat of U.S. military intervention. 

The Supreme Court has already banned Guaido from holding office for a period of 15 years and arrested his chief of staff on terrorism charges.

International support

In mid-January, the opposition leader took to the streets of Caracas and announced himself as the country's rightful interim president.

More than 50 countries, including the U.S. and most Latin American and European countries, have since recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

It has thrust the OPEC producer into uncharted territory — whereby it now has an internationally-recognized government, with no control over state functions, running parallel to Maduro's regime.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Fabiana Rosales (L), the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, in the Oval Office of the White House March 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

Fabiana Rosales, a 26-year-old activist and the wife of opposition leader Juan Guaido, recently said she had grave concerns about the safety of her husband.

"I fear for my husband's life," Roslaes said, when speaking alongside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office late last month.

Rosales was accompanied to the White House by the wife and sister of Roberto Marrero, Guaido's right-hand man, who was arrested and detained late last month.

What's the background?

Pressure is building on Maduro to step down.

The socialist leader has overseen a long economic meltdown, marked by hyperinflation, mounting U.S. sanctions and collapsing oil production.

As a result, some three million Venezuelans have fled abroad over the past five years to escape worsening living conditions.

Nonetheless, Maduro has retained the crucial backing of the military.