'The moment is now': Venezuela's Juan Guaido calls for military uprising

Wednesday, 01 May, 2019

Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez later tweeted the government was confronting a small group of "military traitors" seeking to promote a coup.

The ultimate loyalty of the country's powerful military is still in doubt.

"Washington and Bogota have planned all the unsuccessful unconstitutional actions of recent months in Venezuelan territory", Arreaza tweeted, and denounced a statement by Colombian President Iván Duque calling on the Venezuelan people to reject the "dictatorship and usurpation of Maduro".

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country's Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country's capital of Caracas on January 23. This graphic video below shows a military vehicle driving into a crowd. Rioters later blocked the highway with a bus and set it on fire. The tear gas appeared to have been fired from inside the air base. The assertions were later repeated by Elliott Abrams, the U.S. envoy for Venezuela.

Warning: the below footage depicts graphic violence. He later said an army colonel had received a bullet wound to the neck during the clashes in Caracas.

That support had seemed to crack Tuesday with the launch of what the opposition was calling "Operation Freedom", which began with the early-morning release of a short video of Guaido alongside a few dozen national guardsmen urging people to "take to the streets". "But I will say again: [Venezuela's President] Nicolas Maduro and those supporting him, particularly those who are not Venezuelans, should know that all options are on the table".

"The US Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy".

US leaders, from Vice President Mike Pence to Democratic lawmakers like Sen.

But military leaders appeared to be standing behind Mr Maduro, accusing Mr Guaidó of an attempted coup.

Guaido heads Venezuela's National Assembly.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "Today interim President Juan Guaido announced start of Operación Libertad".

Repeated opposition attempts to force Maduro, a socialist, from power through huge protests and calls on the military to act have so far failed. He said Maduro had been fraudulently re-elected previous year. Rubio has been a vocal supporter of Guaido and a key adviser to the Trump administration on Latin America policy.

"Those who try to take Miraflores with violence will be met with violence", he said on national television, referring to the presidential palace where hundreds of government supporters, some of them brandishing firearms, had gathered in response to a call to defend Maduro.