Juan Guaidó, Flanked by Soldiers, Calls for Military Uprising in Venezuela

Juan Guaidó, Flanked by Soldiers, Calls for Military Uprising in Venezuela

Appearing alongside soldiers at a military base, the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for mass antigovernment protests backed by the military, a direct challenge to the government that the military forces that have so far protected.

“Today, brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men attached to the Constitution have followed our call,” Mr. Guaidó said in a video posted on social media, speaking from what he said was Francisco de Miranda Air Base, a military airport known as La Carlota in central Caracas.

He had called before for the military to rise up against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, but to do it flanked by men in uniform, at a base in the heart of the capital city, was a new step.

Mr. Guaidó claimed that this was a definitive moment in toppling the government, but it was not clear how many people — or how many soldiers — would heed him.

“We are counting on the people of Venezuela today,” he said. “The armed forces are clearly on the side of the people.”

Jorge Rodríguez, the government’s information minister, said on Twitter that government was “confronting and deactivating a small group of military traitors” that he said had taken over the base “to promote a coup.” He blamed the “coup-mongering ultraright,” which he said had pushed for a violent agenda for months in Venezuela.

Behind Mr. Guaidó, who has described himself since January as the country’s interim president, stood Leopoldo López, a member of his party who received a nearly 14-year sentence after staging protests in 2014 and has been held by the government under house arrest. Mr. López did not speak in the video but issued messages on Twitter saying that he had been released by soldiers.

“I was released by the military on the order of the Constitution and President Guaidó,” he wrote in his first Twitter posts since 2017. “Everyone mobilize. It’s time to conquer for freedom.”

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