Reports are surfacing from Venezuela that opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced he was in the “final phase” of ending President Nicolás Maduro’s rule. Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January, recorded a video address with uniformed men, saying he has the support of “brave soldiers” in Caracas.
Up until this point the military has supported Maduro. On the other hand, Guaidó has received backing from numerous countries, including most of Latin America and the United States.
En el marco de nuestra constitución. Y por el cese definitivo de la usurpación. https://t.co/3RD2bnQhxt
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) April 30, 2019
The dawn address, which is believed to have been given near La Carlota air force base in the capital, was published on Guaidó’s Twitter account.
“People of Venezuela, let’s take to the streets (…) to support the end of the usurpation, which is irreversible. (…) The National Armed Forces have taken the correct decision, they have the support of the people of Venezuela, and the backing of our constitution, they are guaranteed to be on the right side of history,” he said.
Standing next to him is another opposition leader, Leopoldo López, who has been under house arrest since 2014 for leading anti-government protests.
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
“I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers,” said Lopez, who has been freed from house arrest by forces responding to Guaidó’s orders. “Everyone should come to the streets, in peace.”
Jorge Rodríguez, the Venezuelan information minister, responded to the recent events on Twitter. Rodríguez wrote that the government was confronting a small group of “military traitors” who were promoting a coup.
Informamos al pueblo de Venezuela que en estos momentos estamos enfrentando y desactivando a un reducido grupo de efectivos militares traidores que se posicionaron en el Distribuidor Altamira para promover un Golpe de Estado contra la Constitución y la paz de la República… 1/2
— Jorge Rodríguez (@jorgerpsuv) April 30, 2019
Guaidó and López appear on the Altamira bridge in a later video recorded by Reuters with a dozen uniformed men wearing blue armbands and bandannas to signal their support for Guaidó. A group of security forces fired tear gas, as seen in the footage.
Protests mount in Venezuela as Guaido calls for military uprising https://t.co/hm8rvG6oDo
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) April 30, 2019
This morning’s events have been brewing since Maduro, who has been president since 2013, received another six-year term after winning a contested election. Maduro’s refusal to accept much-needed foreign aid, the country’s overall economic state, among other things, have called his leadership into question.
Many have taken to Twitter to share developments, while others weigh in on the situation. We’ll continue to report on what transpires in Venezuela as news develops.