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Venezuela's Big Question: Is This a Coup or Not?

Juan Guaido calls for start of 'final phase,' but no evidence of big military uprising is yet seen
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2019 10:50 AM CDT
Venezuela's opposition leader and self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaido, stands above supporters as he addresses them outside La Carlota military air base in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
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(Newser) – The only thing clear in chaotic Venezuela Tuesday morning is that it's a day of high tension. Opposition leader and self-declared President Juan Guaido declared that he was taking to the streets with military supporters to begin the "final phase" of his plan to oust leader Nicolas Maduro. But hours after the announcement, no evidence of a widespread military revolt against Maduro was evident, reports the BBC. Meanwhile, VP Mike Pence tweeted, "We are with you!" to Guaido and his supporters. "America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored. Vayan con dios!" On the flip side, Bolivian leader Evo Morales and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez expressed support for Maduro and accused the US of fomenting violence, reports the AP.

"People of Venezuela, the end of usurpation has arrived," Guaido declared in his morning announcement, accompanied by what the AP describes as a small contingent of soldiers. "We will go to the street with the armed forces to continue taking the streets until we consolidate the end of usurpation, which is already irreversible." The nation's information minister, meanwhile, said soldiers were putting down a "coup attempt" backed by "traitors" in the military. One clash between soldiers and the men with Guaido "fizzled out" near a military air base, and there were no reports of casualties, reports Reuters. The news site sees the day as a big test for Guaido. If nothing comes of his call for a military uprising, it could be a sign that he does not have the support he claims. (Marco Rubio is among those who say Maduro must go.)

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