Multiple reports say a military coup attempt is ongoing Tuesday morning in Venezuela as an anti-Guaido militia loyal to opposition leader and US-backed Juan Guaidó tries to establish military control of key points across the capital of Caracas and other major cities.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez confirmed via social media the government is in the midst of putting down what’s being described as a “small coup” by military “traitors” working with the right-wing opposition.
The AP has confirmed ongoing clashes between coup supporters and police inside Caracas, including reports of tear gas being fired, moments after Guaido issued statements in a video calling for a military uprising. Guaido was shown in the video accompanied by detained activist Leopoldo Lopez and surrounded by well-armed soldiers.
Crucially, Lopez said he was liberated from captivity where Maduro had put him under house arrest for leading opposition unrest in 2014, and in the video called on all Venezuelans to peacefully take to streets.
En el marco de nuestra constitución. Y por el cese definitivo de la usurpación. https://t.co/3RD2bnQhxt
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) April 30, 2019
The AP described the video which apparently sparked the subsequent anti-Maduro action in Caracas:
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.
“Everyone should come to the streets, in peace,” Lopez said further. The past months have seen multiple failed attempts to generate some kind of mass military and civilian uprising against Maduro, but so far all attempts have failed to generate any significant momentum, size, or staying power.
BREAKING NEWS: Interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido has started a military coup against Maduro. Heavily armed military forces are in various locations across the capital and other major cities pic.twitter.com/9jTC2BLQXR
— BNL NEWS (@BreakingNLive) April 30, 2019
So far Venezuela authorities have confirmed only coming up against a handful of armed militia members, which suggests Tuesday morning’s anti-Maduro action will likely be short-lived.