Heavy gunfire breaks out and terrified civilians run through clouds of tear gas for cover after Venezuela’s Juan Guaido calls for military uprising to overthrow President Maduro

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
By Paul Martin

Juan Guaido called for uprising against Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday from the La Carlota airbase in Caracas
Guaido made the announcement surrounded by troops who then began setting up a defensive perimeter
Maduro’s forces fired tear gas before a heavy exchange of gunfire, with protesters caught in the middle
Guaido, who has backing of the US, has been trying to oust Maduro for months using largely peaceful protests

30 April 2019

Heavy gunfire crackled through the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Tuesday after opposition leader Juan Guaido called for an uprising against President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido called for protesters and members of the military to join Operation Liberty in a video taken at La Carlota airbase in the capital Caracas while surrounded by heavily-armed soldiers.

The troops then fanned out to set up defensive positions before Maduro’s forces arrived and opened fire with teargas followed by live rounds, according to witnesses.

Guiado, who has the backing of the US and most Western governments, has been trying to oust Maduro for months using largely non-violent protests.

But things took a dramatic turn Tuesday morning when the self-styled interim president posted a video of himself to Twitter surrounded by soldiers and called for an uprising against Maduro which he dubbed Operation Liberty.

American National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have since tweeted their support for Guaido, saying: ‘The United States stands with the people of Venezuela.’

Meanwhile two of the key international allies of Maduro – Bolivia and Cuba – condemned what they described as a coup attempt by violent rebels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, another key ally of Venezuela that has invested billions in the country’s oil industry, was ‘discussing’ the situation with his top security team.

Guaido called on Venezuelans and the military to join him on the streets, as government vowed to put down what it said was an attempted coup.

In the three-minute video Guaido, speaking in the company of men in military uniform and opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez, said he was at the Caracas air base La Carlota.

Soldiers who took to the streets would be acting to protect Venezuela’s constitution, Guaido said. He made the comments a day before a planned anti-government rally.

‘The moment is now,’ he said, as his political mentor Lopez and several heavily armed soldiers backed by a single armored vehicle looked on.

Lopez has been under house arrest for leading an anti-government push in 2014.

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