In a video this morning, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido told supporters that the Venezuelan military had finally spurned socialist leader Nicolas Maduro and were now supporting Guaido’s interim presidency.
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his mentor, Leopoldo López, led a small group of heavily armed troops outside a military base on Tuesday and called for Venezuelans to hit the streetsin an uprising to oust President Nicolás Maduro.
“This is the moment, the moment is now,” Mr. Guaidó, who is viewed by the U.S. and more than 50 other nations as Venezuela’s sole legitimate leader, said in a predawn address at a highway adjacent to an air base at the eastern end of Caracas.
He was flanked by men in uniform standing by armored vehicles and accompanied by Mr. Lopez, who had been in detention since 2014 and said he was freed on Tuesday on military orders.
There were already street protests planned for May 1; however, with Guaido’s video this morning, supporters began making their way to the capital, many on foot due to Maduro’s decision to shut down public transportation.
LIVE: Opposition protests in Venezuelan capital https://t.co/VYJcAqRU7N
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 30, 2019
#Venezuela: Live pictures from Caracas as authorities say they are "putting down a small coup attempt", apparently led by opposition leader Juan Guaidóhttps://t.co/tVg9QVBmHw pic.twitter.com/5G1KC1k7XH
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 30, 2019
Additional reports and videos posted to social media ostensibly show pro-opposition military arresting pro-regime military who had blocked a highway, leading some to speculate that a “coup” or a “civil war” had started in the embattled South American nation.
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) April 30, 2019
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) April 30, 2019
While the US and nations around the world no longer recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimately elected leader, Russia has reportedly been backing the socialist dictator, even sending military to protect him.
The US has publicly derided Cuba for its role in the economic downturn in Venezuela and denounced socialism as a political ideology in recent weeks. On Tuesday morning, the White House indicated it was watching the uprising in Venezuela and renewed vocal support of Guaido.
White House counselor adviser Kellyanne Conway says the White House stands with opposition leader Juan Guidó, whom the U.S. recognizes as the interim president of the country. Guaidó has taken to the streets of Caracas and is calling for a military uprising.
Conway says it’s time for socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to go and that the U.S. is pushing for “a peaceful transition of power.”
Says Conway: “We’re watching and we’re waiting. We hope the result is democracy and freedom for the people.”
Other US leaders took to social media to show support for the opposition.
After years of suffering freedom is waiting for people of #Venezuela. Do not let them take this opportunity from you.
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
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 30, 2019
But the United States stands with the patriots of Venezuela fighting for their life, liberty and sacred honor. #OperaciónLibertad
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) April 30, 2019