U.S. Secretary of State calls it “Operation Liberty” and supports opposition leader Juan Guaido. The Venezuela regime of Nicolas Maduro calls it a “coup attempt” and has help from Russia and Cuba to put down the uprising. The regular Venezuelan military, and the ordinary people of the country appear to be caught in the middle.
Perhaps this is the last effort of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to shift the balance of power. The White House is supportive but cautious. Everything is tenuous as Venezuela appears to be on the brink of extreme political violence.
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Tuesday made his strongest call yet to the military to help him oust President Nicolas Maduro, and violence broke out at anti-government protests as the country hit a new crisis point after years of political and economic chaos.
Several dozen armed troops accompanying Guaido clashed with soldiers supporting Maduro at a rally outside the La Carlota air base in Caracas, but the incident fizzled out and did not appear to be part of an immediate attempt by the opposition to take power through military force.
Guaido, in Twitter posts, wrote that he had begun the “final phase” of his campaign to topple Maduro, calling on Venezuelans and the armed forces to back him ahead of May Day mass street protests planned for Wednesday.
“The moment is now!” he wrote. “The future is ours: the people and Armed Forces united to put an end” to Maduro’s time in office.
Tens of thousands of people were marching in Caracas in support of Guaido on Tuesday, clashing with riot police along the main Francisco Fajardo thoroughfare. A National Guard armored car slammed into protesters who were throwing stones and hitting the vehicle.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino called the latest instability a “coup movement” but several hours after Guaido’s announcement there was no sign of any other anti-Maduro military activity. Guaido later left a rally he was holding with military supporters at the air base. (read more)
This looks like a no-retreat proposition. Those in the military who make a decision to support Juan Guaido can never return to life before the inflection point and will be targets of the Maduro regime. A terrible crisis with few good options.
Our prayers for the Venezuelan people who are caught up in this political nightmare.