Clashes rock Venezuela as Guaido urges opposition uprising

April FrancisMay 02, 2019

The US White House led support for Venezuelan self-declared President Juan Guaido's push for a military uprising against interim President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday, while Maduro's global backers condemned the push as a coup.

Elsewhere in Latin America, millions of Cubans took to the streets on Wednesday to protest new sanctions imposed on the Caribbean island by the Trump administration and USA efforts to topple the government of socialist ally Venezuela.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who was in Brazil on Tuesday, said Germany's support for Guaido "had not changed" but argued for a political rather than military resolution.

Still, the surprise rebellion, dubbed "Operation Freedom", seemed to have garnered only limited military support.

The two leaders clashing over rightful leadership are sitting President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Gunshots were also heard at Guaido's rally.

USA national security advisor John Bolton has called on Russian Federation to drop its support for Maduro, which includes military advisers. If he were contacted, Bolsonaro said, he would involve his defense council and Congress in making a decision.

"He had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning as we understand it and the Russians indicated he should stay", Pompeo said, adding that Maduro had been "headed for Havana".

The United Nations says a quarter of Venezuela's 30 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, and that 3.7 million are malnourished.

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He also said that opposition leader Guaido, who called on the army to rebel and overthrow President Maduro, would be responsible for any possible deaths in the streets, and accused anti-government forces of "wanting bloodshed".

Flanked by uniformed men, Padrino said in a broadcast that the armed forces would continue to defend the constitution and "legitimate authorities", and that military bases were operating as normal.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton on Tuesday singled out three senior aides to Maduro who he said must make good on commitments they purportedly made to the opposition for a peaceful transition away from Maduro's rule.

Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the head of Venezuela's feared SEBIN intelligence agency, wrote a letter to the Venezuelan people saying that while he has always been loyal to Maduro it is now time to "rebuild the country".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN he believed Maduro was ready to flee to ally Cuba before he was dissuaded by Russian Federation - a claimed Maduro later refuted.

Ana Quintana, a Senior Policy Analyst on Latin America for the Heritage Foundation, told "Fox & Friends" Wednesday that the events unfolding between the government and Venezuelans were not the actions of a military coup - but rather a duty to the constitution. "I think this is a moment for Moscow to re-evaluate whether Venezuela is truly worth escalating the crisis with the United States".

Maduro's leftist allies Cuba and Bolivia condemned Guaido.

On Tuesday, Lopez appeared on an overpass by the La Carlota air base, joined by Guaido and several dozen soldiers who had disavowed Maduro.

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