Coup fears in Venezuela as opposition leader claims imminent removal of Maduro

Nicolas Maduro
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela [Photo: Venezuela Analysis]

Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s main opposition leader, has announced a near end to Nicolas Maduro as president.

Mr Guaido said on Tuesday that he met with armed forces to work out a “final phase” of Mr Maduro’s reign.

The 35-year-old released a three-minute video praising the resilience of Venezuelans against Mr Maduro’s leadership.

He was flanked by men with helmets and weapons as he talked about ending the “usurpation,” a term he has often used to describe Mr Maduro’s grip on power.

Also in the video was another opposition leader, Leopoldo López, a prominent politician who led anti-government protests, served jail time, and had been living under house arrest.

Mr Lopez said he was freed by the military in a tweet Tuesday.

Heavy gunfire had been reported in the capital Caracas on Tuesday morning. It was said to be between military factions loyal to the government and opposition.

Reuters reported that one of its journalists saw security forces fire tear gas at Mr Guaido and dozens of men in military uniform.

Venezuelan Information Minister, Jorge Rodríguez, rejected news of a “coup attempt” in his country, saying on Twitter that the government is “deactivating a small number of traitorous military personnel.”

Mr Guaido emerged leader of Venezuelan parliament last year. President Donald Trump recognised him as the interim president and ordered all American officials to only hold diplomatic talks with the opposition.

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Several attempts have been made to broker a deal between the rival parties, but no solution had been reached.

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