Florida politicians join #GuaidoChallenge in support of Venezuelan leader

Online campaign features people in hooded sweatshirts

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor, Associated Press

MIAMI - Several prominent Florida politicians -- including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- posted photos of themselves in hooded sweatshirts on social media this weekend as part of the #GuaidoChallenge in support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Guaido is seeking to wrest control of the Venezuelan government from President Nicolas Maduro amid the country’s continued economic collapse. Guaido, who promises to move Venezuela from a dictatorship to a democracy, received the backing of several western countries, including the U.S. and Canada, this week.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also posted #GuaidoChallenge photos.

The challenge was inspired by stories in the Venezuelan news media saying Guaido secretly met with an official with the ruling party while disguise at a Caracas hotel earlier this week. The surveillance clips supposed to be of Guaido show a man wearing a hoodie and baseball hat, hiding his face minutes after socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello enters.

The state-run media reports sought to paint Guaido as a liar and a fraud, but Guaido has said the meeting never happened. The online campaign seeks to turn the scandal into a strength for Guaido.

In addition to photos of everyday people wearing hooded sweatshirts, other posts featured photos of hooded celebrities and pets.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (left) and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz also took part in the #GuaidoChallenge.

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