Coup Underway in Venezuela, Government Alleges US Involvement

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This is a timeline from The Associated Press of the latest on the coup attempt in Venezuela. (All times local.)

11:10 a.m.

Mexico is expressing concern over a possible escalation of violence and bloodshed in Venezuela.

The Foreign Relations Department has issued a statement reiterating its willingness to seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue and says it is in contact with other countries with the goal of “finding a common path.”

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador repeated in a Tuesday morning news conference that he believes in nonintervention and dialogue.

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Mexico is not among the nations that have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself the rightful leader of Venezuela in a challenge to President Nicolás Maduro.


10:50 a.m.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza claims the U.S. likely paid a guard to allow opposition activist Leopoldo López to escape house arrest as part of an effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro. Arreaza says the uprising will soon be contained.

Arreaza said in a phone interview with the AP that Maduro is monitoring events closely from the central command facility.

But he says the thousands of supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó who’ve gathered in eastern Caracas won’t succeed in breaking the military’s loyalty to Maduro.

López appeared alongside Guaidó with a number of rebellious military members in Caracas on Tuesday and the two called for a military uprising. U.S. officials have sent statements of support.


10:40 a.m.

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Hundreds of supporters of President Nicolás Maduro have gathered at a rally beside Venezuela’s presidential palace, where security force members are deployed on the perimeter wall.

The Maduro loyalists have been chanting slogans of support, and a man on a truck has handed out large posters of Maduro with the Venezuelan flag behind him.

The demonstration comes in response to a call by opposition leader Juan Guaidó for the military and civilians to rise up against Maduro.


10:25 a.m.

Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolás Maduro says top military leaders have assured him of their loyalty despite calls by opposition leader Juan Guaidó for the military to rise up.

In a tweet sent Tuesday, Maduro calls for “the maximum popular mobilization to assure the victory of peace.”

Guaidó appeared in the streets with a number of military backers, but so far there’s no sign of a broader revolt in the armed forces.

U.S. officials have issued statements of support for Guaidó, who they recognize as the country’s legitimate leader, though Maduro controls government agencies.


10:15 a.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says, “We are with you!” to the Venezuelans taking to the streets after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolás Maduro.

Pence said in a tweet addressed to Guaidó, the National Assembly and “all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad_Estamos con ustedes! We are with you!”

He adds, “America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored.”

The U.S. and dozens of other countries have recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader, arguing that Maduro’s re-election was invalid.

Maduro has accused the U.S. of backing a “coup” in the country.


9:50 a.m.

The White House says it is “watching and waiting” on the situation in Venezuela and hoping the result is democracy.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says the White House stands with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. recognizes as the interim president of the country. Guaidó has taken to the streets of Caracas and is calling for a military uprising.

Conway says it’s time for socialist leader Nicolás Maduro to go and that the U.S. is pushing for “a peaceful transition of power.”

Says Conway: “We’re watching and we’re waiting. We hope the result is democracy and freedom for the people.”


9:30 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration backs Venezuelan congressional leader Juan Guaidó in his call for a military uprising against President Nicolás Maduro.

Pompeo says in a tweet that the U.S. “fully supports” Guaido’s call for the start of “Operacion Libertad.” He says the U.S. stands with the Venezuelan people “in their quest for freedom and democracy.” He says democracy cannot be defeated.

The Trump administration has led calls for countries to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader since January. Earlier, Guaidó took to the streets with activist Leopoldo López and a small contingent of heavily armed troops in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust Maduro.


9 a.m.

Two of the key allies of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro are denouncing an attempted “coup d’etat” in the country.

Bolivian President Evo Morales issued a call via Twitter on Tuesday urging Latin American governments “to condemn the coup d’etat in Venezuela and keep the violence from claiming innocent lives.”

He blamed the U.S. for “provoking violence and death in Venezuela.”

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez also sent a tweet backing Maduro and calling on the U.S. to “halt aggressions against the peace.”

The U.S. backs opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has been joined in the streets of Caracas by some soldiers and is urging the armed forces to oust Maduro.


8:30 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed the ongoing military uprising in Venezuela with his top security body.

Russian news agencies on Tuesday quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Putin raised the current developments in Venezuela during his scheduled meeting with the Security Council.

Peskov said that the meeting “paid significant attention to the news reports about a coup attempt in that country.”

He did not elaborate further.


7:35 a.m.

Spain’s caretaker government has called for a bloodless and peaceful transition to a democratic presidential election in Venezuela.

Government spokeswoman Isabel Celaá says the government is following closely developments in Caracas, where the opposition has called for Venezuelans to take to the streets to oust Nicolás Maduro from power.

“We hope with all of our strength that there is no bloodshed. We support a peaceful democratic process in Venezuela. We support the immediate holding of an election for a new president,” Celaá said on Tuesday during a weekly routine press briefing.

Spain has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela but has not cut ties with Maduro’s government.

More than 177,000 Spaniards live in Venezuela, and Spain has become a destination for thousands of Venezuelans escaping the political and economic crisis in recent years.

Celaá said Guaidó has “legitimacy to lead democratic transition in Venezuela.”

“Guaidó represents the alternative,” she added.


7:10 a.m.

Venezuela’s socialist party boss, Diosdado Cabello, has called on government supporters to amass at the presidential palace to defend Nicolás Maduro from what he says is a small uprising of traitorous military soldiers backed by the U.S.

His comments in a phone call to state TV came after opposition leader Juan Guaidó appeared in a video with a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers and formerly detained opposition activist Leopoldo López calling for Venezuelans to take to the streets to oust Maduro.

Cabello downplayed the significance of the rebellion, saying Caracas is in calm and that the Carlota air base near where the rebellious soldiers are gathered had not been touched.


7:05 a.m.

The father of prominent Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López says he is expecting a military and popular response following the release of his son in Caracas.

“We are going to see a national call to people and the military to end the usurpation and, well, I hope that the usurpation government will end today,” Leopoldo López Sr. said Tuesday in a brief telephone conversation from the United States.

His son had been under house arrest for leading an anti-government push in 2014. He said Tuesday he had been freed by the military.

The father, who lives in Spain and has become a prominent voice of the Venezuelan opposition in exile, said that the military was obeying a presidential pardon issued by Juan Guaidó, who is leading the opposition against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

The elder López, who is running for a seat in the European Parliament at the end of May, said he couldn’t comment on whether Tuesday’s developments had been coordinated with the United States or other countries that have backed Guaidó.


6:50 a.m.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has taken to the streets with a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers and detained activist Leopoldo López in a military uprising.

“This is the moment of all Venezuelans, those in uniform and those who aren’t,” said López in his first public appearance since being detained in 2014 for leading anti-government protests. “Everyone should come to the streets, in peace.”

The comments by López came moments after Guaidó appeared in an early morning video shot at a Caracas airbase surrounded by several heavily armed soldiers and armored vehicles.

Guaido said soldiers who had taken to the streets were protecting Venezuela’s constitution. He made the comments a day before a planned anti-government rally.

“The moment is now,” he said.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Twitter that Nicolás Maduro’s government was confronting a small “coup attempt” led by military “traitors” backed by right-wing opponents.

Tear gas was fired at a highway overpass next to the Caracas air base where several heavily armed soldiers with a blue band wrapped around their forearms had been standing guard. The tear gas appeared to have been fired from inside the air base.


6:35 a.m.

Venezuela’s government said it is putting down a small coup attempt by military “traitors” working with right-wing opponents.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez’s comments on Twitter came after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for a military uprising in a video that showed him surrounded by heavily armed soldiers and accompanied by detained activist Leopoldo López at a Caracas air base.


6:25 a.m.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for a military uprising, in a video shot at a Caracas air base showing him surrounded by soldiers and accompanied by detained activist Leopoldo López.

In the three-minute video shot early Tuesday, Guaido said soldiers who took to the streets would be acting to protect Venezuela’s constitution. He made the comments a day before a planned anti-government rally.

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

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

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