Caracas, Venezuela — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for a military uprising, in a video shot at a Caracas air base showing him in front of a group of soldiers and accompanied by previously-detained activist Leopoldo Lopez. In the three-minute video shot early Tuesday, Guaido said soldiers who took to the streets would be acting to protect Venezuela’s constitution. He made the comments a day before a planned anti-government rally.
“The moment is now,” he said, as his political mentor Lopez and several heavily armed soldiers backed by a single armored vehicle looked on.
Lopez has been under house arrest for leading an anti-government push in 2014. He said Tuesday that he had been freed by members of the military, and reiterated Guaido’s call on all Venezuelans to peacefully take to the streets.
“Today, valiant soldiers, valiant patriots, valiant supporters of the constitution, have answered our call,” declared Guaido in the video. He addressed the rest of Venezuela’s security services, which have thus far remained loyal to President Nicolas Maduro: “I invite you to take to the streets.”
There appeared to be about two dozen troops behind Guaido in the video posted early Tuesday morning, with a couple of armored vehicles behind them.
The Trump administration was one of the first major world powers to, shunning Maduro after a 2018 election widely deemed flawed and undemocratic saw him win another term.
In spite of steady pressure from the U.S., most Latin American nations and Europe, Maduro has clung to power —.
Jorge Rodriquez, the Maduro regime’s information minister, said in a pair of tweets early Tuesday that security services were “currently confronting and deactivating a small group of military traitors” who it accused of attempting to “promote a coup against the constitution and Peace of the Republic.”
“We call on the people to stay on high alert, along with the glorious Bolivarian National armed forces, to defeat the coup attempt and preserve the peace. We will win,” wrote Rodriquez.
Tear gas was fired on a highway near the air base where Guaido’s video was shot later on Tuesday.
President Trump and his senior aides have repeatedly warned the Maduro regime not to try and arrest or harm Guaido, hinting that such action could draw a more overt response from the U.S. Thus far American actions have remained in the diplomatic realm — in the form of sanctions and efforts to get aid materials into economically crippled Venezuela against Maduro’s wishes.