Nicolas Maduro claims victory over ‘deranged’ Venezuelan coup bid
President slams ‘far right’ and Trump after fresh clashes on streets
Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro says he has thwarted an attempt to topple him by the “coup-mongering far right” and Donald Trump’s deranged imperialist “gang”.
Following a day of violence on the streets, Maduro accused opposition leader Juan Guaido and his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez of trying to ignite an armed confrontation that could be used as a pretext for a foreign military intervention.
Guaido declared himself interim president in January. Since then, the crisis-hit country has had two men claiming to be its leader.
Guaido has called on his supporters to take to the streets again today, after releasing a video yesterday morning in which, surrounded by men in military uniform, he said he had the support of “brave soldiers” in the nation’s capital.
“The National Armed Forces have taken the correct decision,” he said. “They are guaranteed to be on the right side of history.”
However, the BBC says most of the military stayed on the side of Maduro during yesterday’s clashes, in which live rounds were fired and armoured vehicles driven into protesters.
Health officials said 69 people were injured in the clashes, including two who had been hit by bullets.
As the violence unfolded, Guaido said on Twitter: “We are in a process that is unstoppable. We have the firm backing of our people and the world to achieve the restoration of our democracy.”
What comes next is less than certain. The New York Times says Guaido has “fallen short of the prize he sought: the toppling of President Nicolas Maduro”. In the longer term, though, says the BBC, while “Mr Maduro still occupies the presidential palace, his future isn't secure”.
Outside Venezuela, international governments lined up behind each side. Trump, who backs Guaido, said the US stood with the Venezuelan people and their freedom. Cuba and Bolivia, which support Maduro, condemned Guaido’s efforts as an attempted coup.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appealed for both sides to avoid violence.