Venezuela protests turn violent as Guaido calls for end of Maduro regime

Daily News Article   —   Posted on May 1, 2019

NOTE: This is a developing story

(by Clyde Hughes and Danielle Haynes, UPI) – April 30, 5:53 p.m. EST — Demonstrations turned violent Tuesday after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared…socialist President Nicolas Maduro must leave.

Those supporting the National Assembly leader took to the streets calling for the [departure] of Maduro. Military forces loyal to President Maduro have responded at times with violence.

One demonstrator, Victor Zabala, 25, told The Guardian he was struck multiple times by rubber bullets. He accused the National Guard of also using live fire on groups of protesters.

In one video, military vehicles appeared to mow down Guaido supporters, who responded by throwing objects.

CNN and BBC reported a number of cable companies in Venezuela received orders to stop airing the networks after they aired the graphic footage.

The protester could be seen falling under the wheels and being run over by the GNB vehicle which then drove off and left the scene as demonstrators flocked around him.

Guaido called for non-violent protests to support what he called “Operation Liberty.” He made the announcement in a video in which he is flanked by Venezuelan military forces.

“People of Venezuela, the end of usurpation has arrived,” Guaido said in the video, taken at the La Carlota air base.

“At this moment, I am with main military units of our armed forces, starting the final phase of Operation Liberty. People of Venezuela, we will go to the streets with the armed forces to continue taking the streets until we consolidate the end of usurpation, which is already irreversible,” he continued, calling for nationwide demonstrations for Wednesday.

Leopoldo Lopez, a key Venezuelan opposition leader who’d been under house arrest, stood behind Guaido in the video.

Many foreign governments have backed Juan Guaido (left) as Venezuela’s interim president. Guidao declared…socialist President Nicolas Maduro (right) must leave.

Maduro’s administration said Guaido’s move is a coup attempt and called the military members who’ve sided with Guaido “traitors.”

“The [socialist] Bolivarian Armed Forces stand firm in defense of the national constitution and its legitimate authorities,” Venezuela defense minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said.

“We reject this coup-like movement that seeks to fill the country with violence. The pseudo political leaders that are heading the subversive movement have employed troops and police with war weapons in a street of the city to create terror,” he added.

While many foreign governments have backed Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president (see “Background” below), socialist Bolivian President Evo Morales voiced opposition and blamed the United States, which also recognizes Guaido as Venezuela’s leader.

“The U.S., with its meddling and coup-waging, looks to wreak violence and death in Venezuela, caring only about its interests and nothing about the human loses,” Morales said. “We must be united on our guard so that the coup-perpetrators never return to our region.”

President Donald Trump said he’s monitoring the situation in Venezuela.

“The United States stands with the People of Venezuela and their Freedom!” he tweeted.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton called for a peaceful transfer of power and said it was “a very serious situation.”

“This is clearly not a coup,” he added because the United States [and most Latin American and Europen countries] view Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.   [Read a MiamiHerald opinion “Military rebellion in Venezuela can be called many things, but don’t call it a ‘coup attempt”]

[Also of note, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Tuesday that Maduro “had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning as we understand and the Russians indicated he should stay.”  Moscow has increasingly thrown its weight behind Maduro in recent months.

“We think the situation remains incredibly fluid,” Pompeo told CNN. “We know there were senior leaders inside the Maduro government that were prepared to leave. They told us as much over the past few weeks and we’re convinced that the Venezuelan people are going to get their democracy back.”

Pompeo added that Maduro “was headed for Havana.”]

Published at UPI .com on April 30. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from United Press International.


As of February 5, 2019:

Many European countries have followed the lead of the United States and recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s new leader.

Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Austria and Denmark all announced they recognize Guaido as the country’s president, which came after embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rejected calls for new elections. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden, as well as Israel, Australia, and Canada also sided with the United States to recognize Guaido.

“Maduro has not called presidential elections within eight-day limit we have set,” British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said. “So U.K. alongside European allies now recognizes Guaido as interim constitutional president.” He added, “The oppression of the illegitimate, kleptocratic Maduro regime must end.”

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted he backs Guaido as the “acting president to implement an electoral process.”

“From today, we will spare no effort in helping all Venezuelans achieve freedom, prosperity, and harmony,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said, urging both fair elections and humanitarian aid.

In Central and South America, the majority of nations, are backing Guaido. Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama have all announced their support for the interim leader. In addition, the newly elected left-leaning president of Mexico, [the leftist governments of] El Salvador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and [the Communist government of] Cuba sided with Maduro.

Russia and China have, which have poured billions of dollars of investment and loans into Venezuela, are both supporting Maduro. The Maduro government is paying off both countries’ loans with oil. (from a Feb. 5 report) [Iran also back socialist President Maduro.]