Venezuela holds uncle of opposition leader Guaidó
4 min read
fairly difficult
A top official says Juan José Márquez tried to "smuggle dangerous materials" without explaining how.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Juan Guaidó arrived at Maiquetia airport on Tuesday on a flight with his uncle, who was detained

A top Venezuelan government official has confirmed that the uncle of opposition leader Juan Guaidó is being held on suspicion of smuggling "dangerous material" into the country.

Juan José Márquez was travelling with Mr Guaidó from Lisbon to Caracas by plane and vanished on Tuesday after being stopped by tax agency personnel.

Mr Guaidó called it a "cowardly move".

The official did not say how Mr Márquez would have managed to smuggle the items onto an international flight.

Mr Márquez is not the first person with links to Mr Guaidó to be arrested. His chief of staff, Roberto Marrero, was detained last year and remains in prison.

What does the government say?

Diosdado Cabello, widely considered the second most powerful man in President Nicolás Maduro's government, spoke of Mr Márquez's arrest on his weekly TV programme.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Diosdado Cabello is a powerful figure and a hardliner in the Venezuelan government

"No, he's not forcibly disappeared, he is being held for bringing in forbidden substances on a flight," Mr Cabello alleged.

Mr Cabello showed photos of a bulletproof vest and what he said was explosive material which Mr Márquez had allegedly tried to smuggle into Venezuela.

"He carried tactical flashlights which contained, hidden in the battery compartment, chemical substances of an explosive nature, presumably C-4 synthetic explosives," he said.

Mr Cabello did not say how Mr Márquez would have…
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