The president in charge of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, announced from the military air base of La Carlota that since Tuesday, April 30, Operation Libertad began to “cease the usurpation” of Nicolás Maduro's regime. Civilians gathered at the east of Caracas in support of the military insurrection and Military supporters of Maduro government took part of the base of the Military Aviation, armed with long weapons.
In the video broadcasted on his social networks, Guaidó appears with Leopoldo López and officials of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
He called on public employees for the achievement of national sovereignty. Today, brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men attached to our Constitution have come to our call, he added.
He also invited the Aid and Freedom committees to activate and cover the streets of Venezuela.
López requested the support of the Armed Forces to join the protests of the so-called freedom operation to achieve the cessation of usurpation.
May 1 started today. The definitive cessation of the usurpation began today. We have the people of Venezuela today, Guaidó said.
Few minutes after Guaidó's announcement, Jorge Rodriguez, communications Minister of Maduro's administration, has informed through Twitter that they are ”confronting and deactivating a reduced number of military traitors who positioned themselves (...) to promote a coup against the constitution and peace of the Republic”.
En el marco de nuestra constitución. Y por el cese definitivo de la usurpación. https://t.co/3RD2bnQhxt— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) April 30, 2019
Venezuelan media reported that civilians gathered in Altamira, at the east of Caracas, in support of the military insurrection. Bolivarian National Police is reppressing the protests with tear gas bombs.
Diosdado Cabello, second most important Chavista regime’s man, called his followers to convene in front of the Presidential Palace of Miraflores to defend it.
López was under house arrest after being detained in February 2014 and sentenced to serve almost 14 years in prison in September 2015 on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, instigation and destruction of public property.
Venezuela is mired in a deep economic crisis. Shortages of food and medicine have prompted more than three million Venezuelans to emigrate in recent years.
Guaido, the leader of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly, in January invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing that Maduro's re-election in 2018 was illegitimate.
Reuters reported U.S. President Donald Trump has been briefed and is monitoring the ongoing situation, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday. The White House declined comment on whether the administration had been consulted or had advance knowledge of what Guaido was planning.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton appeared to back Guaido's actions on Tuesday. The FANB must protect the Constitution and the Venezuelan people. It should stand by the National Assembly and the legitimate institutions against the usurpation of democracy, Bolton tweeted, referring to the FANB armed forces.
A soldier in the group with Guaido, who identified himself just as Rivas, denied government accusations that they had been tricked into backing Guaido.
We're all afraid, he told Reuters, but we had to do it.