Maduro: 'Coup attempt' defeated as police clash with protesters

Maduro: 'Coup attempt' defeated as police clash with protesters

Lopez said he has been freed by members of the military responding to an order by Guaido, whom the USA and dozens of other governments recognize as Venezuela's rightful leader.

A Venezuelan National Guard vehicle was caught on video running over anti-Maduro protesters outside a military base in Caracas, who were throwing stones and hitting vehicles with sticks after opposition leader Juan Guaido called on members of the military to rise up.

While the opposition leader claimed that more officers were ready to desert, Maduro stated that 80 percent of troops involved in the mutiny attempt had abandoned Guaido, with only a small group of about 20 officers "handing over their souls to the coup-mongering far right". Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.

The Trump administration declared quick and enthusiastic support Tuesday for the Venezuelan opposition effort to spark a military uprising against embattled President Nicolas Maduro, hoping for decisive action in the political crisis that has engulfed the South American nation. "So if the military have the guns, they have the power and as long as Nicolás Maduro controls the military, he controls the country".

Standing with Guaido was Leopoldo Lopez, Venezuela's leading opposition activist. Protesters were also seen throwing rocks, but being repelled by tear gas and water cannon. Some of the other vehicles also move about erratically, and one of them appears to catch on fire.

The Trump administration has blamed Cuba and Russian Federation for Guaido's failure to wrest control of Venezuela from Maduro, and after Tuesday's failed coup attempt, Trump threatened to punish Cuba with further sanctions and an embargo, even though Cuba has been subject to a near-total USA embargo since 1962.

He insisted the country's forces remained loyal to Mr Maduro.

"The weapons of the republic are here to defend the nation's sovereignty and independence", he warned.

Venezuelan soldiers carry an ammunition box at La Carlota base, in eastern Caracas. Guaido supporters at the demonstration and soldiers began to fight.

"People of Venezuela, let's take to the support the end of the usurpation, which is irreversible".

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Tuesday's protests had been "directly planned" in Washington.

Guaido called for a military uprising, named Operacion Libertad, against socialist dictator Nicholas Maduro on Tuesday.

In January, the administration took the unusual step of recognizing Guaido, the opposition leader of the National Assembly, as interim president.

He argues that President Maduro is a "usurper" because he was re-elected in polls that had been widely disputed.

Although some former Venezuelan security officials opposed to Maduro are now based in Colombia and have claimed involvement in a drone attack on the president past year, there is little evidence that such operations are being prepared at the moment.

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