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Venezuela’s opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido has announced what he has termed the “final phase” in the opposition’s plan to take over the country from the Nicolas Maduro government, Reuters reports, citing Guaido’s call for the Venezuelan military to join what increasingly looks like a coup attempt.
ccording to a Reuters reporter on site, about 70 armed men in military uniforms gathered at a military base together with Guaido and several hundred opposition supporters but about two hours after the opposition leader tweeted the announcement about the “final phase”, there was no visible escalation between opposition supporters and government forces. At the military base, the Reuters reporter said, government security forces fired tear gas at Guaido’s group.
“We reject this coup movement, which aims to fill the country with violence,” Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said, as quoted by Reuters.
The Reuters report counters another statement by Guaido made to the Spanish unit of CNN, which said the Venezuelan army was not behind Maduro.
“Evidently, there is no such backing of the armed forces to Maduro’s regime," he said, adding “It’s great news for the entire country that the military of Venezuela’s armed forces have taken this step. They were an important part of this. This was fundamental not only for a transitioning, but to recover Venezuela’s sovereignty. Here we are next to our legislators, the military and soon with the people of Venezuela. We are determined to conquer freedom for our country.”
According to the country’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, the Guaido announcement and the events that followed were part of an attempt at a coup d’etat backed by the United States and Colombia.
"We denounce before the international community the support of the Colombian government for this new attempt at a coup d'etat in Venezuela. All the unconstitutional actions of the last few months in Venezuela have been planned from Washington and Bogota,” the official said in a tweet.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.