Venezuela’s vice president Delcy Rodriguez has called for people to go to Miraflores Palace, the official workplace of the President, to “defend peace.”
“Bolivarian democracy is founded on the protagonism of the people! Rest in the glory of our Libertadores, of Chavez! Traitors and fascists will never twist the destiny of freedom that Venezuela has marked! Let brave people to Miraflores to defend peace!,” Rodriguez said.
Another government figure, Maduro’s communications vice minister Isbemar Jimenez, also told CNN that “the situation is under control.” Jimenez added: “All military garrisons support Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.”
US Senator Marco Rubio has urged Venezuelan military personnel to “fulfill their constitutional oath” and support Guaidó, who declared himself the interim president of the country in January.
“After years of suffering freedom is waiting for people of #Venezuela. Do not let them take this opportunity from you,” Rubio tweeted early Tuesday. “Now is the moment to take to the streets in support of your legitimate constitutional government. Do not allow this moment to slip away. It may not come again.”
He also urged police, judicial and political leaders to support the efforts. “Today their (sic) can be no bystanders,” he wrote.
He later added that the government’s calls for people to head to the military base “is a clear sign that they have lost faith in their control of the military.”
The United States is one of dozens of countries who have thrown their support behind the opposition leader.
Tear gas has been deployed outside Caracas’s La Carlota air force base, where Juan Guaidó said he filmed his dawn address flanked by military personnel.
It is unclear who deployed the tear gas. Guaidó and his supporters have called for Venezuelans to take to the streets in protest, as their efforts to oust President Nicolás Maduro appear to enter a new phase.
Juan Guaidó’s dawn address, delivered alongside men in military attire, was notable for a number of reasons — not least because another key opposition figure, Leopoldo Lopez, was present.
Lopez had been under house arrest, but said on Twitter he had been freed by military personnel. That could suggest growing support from military personnel for attempts to oust Maduro, though it is far from unclear how widespread that support is.
Venezuela: ha iniciado la fase definitiva para el cese de la usurpación, la Operación Libertad. He sido liberado por militares a la orden de la Constitución y del Presidente Guaidó. Estoy en la Base La Carlota. Todos a movilizarnos. Es hora de conquistar la Libertad. Fuerza y Fe pic.twitter.com/Awm6P09ZM0
— Leopoldo López (@leopoldolopez) April 30, 2019
Lopez, a former mayor of a Caracas district with ambitions for the presidency, has long been a vocal opponent of the socialists in power and was banned in 2008 from running for office on accusations of corruption.
In February 2014, at least three people were killed during an anti-government protest in the capital, and authorities blamed him for the violence. He turned himself in, and was sentenced in 2015 to nearly 14 years in prison.
His imprisonment has been a rallying cry for anti-Maduro demonstrators, and Lopez was released to house arrest because of health concerns in July 2017.
A spokesman for Nicolás Maduro’s government has responded to Guaidó’s address, writing on Twitter that some members of Venezuela’s military have joined an attempted coup.
“We inform the people of Venezuela that at this moment in time we are confronting and deactivating a small number of traitorous military personnel who positioned themselves at the Distribuidor Altamira to promote a coup against the Constitution and the peace of the Republic,” Venezuela’s vice president of communications Jorge Rodriguez wrote on Twitter.
In a follow-up post, he called on people to stay on “high alert,” adding: “We will win.”
Attempts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro appear to be reaching a climax, after the country’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó made a play for support from the nation’s military and announced “the start of the end of the usurpation.”
Speaking in a dawn address flanked by men in military attire and armored vehicles, Guaidó made his boldest attempt yet to involve the military in the removal of the Venezuelan president.
He later tweeted: “The people of Venezuela initiated the end of the usurpation. At this moment I am meeting with the main military units of our Armed Forces, beginning the final phase of Operation Freedom.”
In the video, broadcast on Guaidó’s Twitter account, another key opposition figure — Leopoldo Lopez, who is currently under house arrest — appeared to be present. It was unclear how Lopez had evaded custody to appear in the video, which Guaidó said was filmed at a military airbase, La Carlota.
Guaidó called for a day of nationwide protests on May 1, and said his address marked the start of that protest movement.
By Rob Picheta, CNN
Updated 3 min ago8:03 a.m. ET, April 30, 2019By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Updated 1949 GMT (0349 HKT) April 29, 2019
Sources from: CNN
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