Venezuela’s Guaido, surrounded by soldiers, calls for military uprising

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido took to the streets Tuesday morning and called for a military uprising, saying he has begun the “final phase” of his plan to oust embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

In a three-minute video posted on his Twitter account, the 35-year-old lawmaker said soldiers who took the streets would be acting to protect Venezuela’s constitution.

“The moment is now,” said Guaido, who shot the video at a Caracas airbase surrounded by soldiers and accompanied by detained activist and mentor, Leopoldo Lopez.

“The national armed forces have taken the correct decision, and they count on the support of the Venezuelan people,” he said.

In his first public appearance since being detained in 2014 for leading anti-government protests, Lopez claimed on Twitter that he was freed by the military and called on all Venezuelans to peacefully take to the streets.

“This is the moment of all Venezuelans, those in uniform and those who aren’t,” he told reporters. “Everyone should come to the streets, in peace.”

He added on Twitter: “We must all mobilize. It is time to conquer freedom.” 

Minutes after the video was shared, the Venezuelan government said it would be putting down a small coup attempt by military “traitors” working with the opposition.

“We reject this coup movement, which aims to fill the country with violence,” said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez on Twitter called on Venezuelan citizens to remain on high alert, alongside the “glorious Bolivarian National armed forces, to defeat the coup attempt and preserve the peace.”

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