Latin America

Venezuela’s Guaidó appeals to military ‘at air force base’

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Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has announced the "final phase" of his attempt to bring about the end of President Maduro's rule and says he has military support.

In a video apparently recorded at an air force base and published on social media he is seen with men in uniform.

He calls for the military to help him end "the usurpation" of power by Mr Maduro.

The government says it is putting down a small coup attempt.

The military has so far supported Mr Maduro and refused to back Mr Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January and has backing from several countries, including the United States.

In the video, Mr Guaidó says he has the support of "brave soldiers" in Caracas.

"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 says.

The video, published on Mr Guaidó's Twitter account, shows him standing next to another opposition leader, Leopoldo López, who has been under house arrest after he was found guilty of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014.

Mr López said that he had been freed by members of the military who had declared their loyalty to Mr Guaidó.

Skip Twitter post by @leopoldolopez

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

End of Twitter post by @leopoldolopez

The Venezuelan information minister, Jorge Rodríguez, responded to the events on Twitter, writing that the government was confronting a small group of "military traitors" which according to him were promoting a coup.

Skip Twitter post by @jorgerpsuv

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

End of Twitter post by @jorgerpsuv

Mr Guaidó, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly has been calling on the military to back him ever since he declared himself interim president.

He argues that President Maduro is a "usurper" because he was re-elected in polls that have been widely disputed.

The video appeared to have been recorded at dawn in or near La Carlota air force base in the capital Caracas.

Footage recorded later by Reuters news agency shows Mr Guaidó and Mr López with dozens of uniformed men on a highway in Caracas.

Many are wearing blue armbands signalling their Read More – Source

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