Venezuelan opposition calls for more demonstrations
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 5/01/19, 11:44 am
Venezuela’s opposition leaders called for a second day of demonstrations on Wednesday in the latest attempt to depose embattled President Nicolás Maduro. Juan Guaidó, who became interim president in January after invoking a clause in the Venezuelan Constitution, launched a military uprising on Tuesday, with at least 50 people sustaining injuries in clashes with security forces. Tear gas canisters and empty shotgun shells littered the streets on Wednesday as Guaidó urged Venezuelans and military officials to join the rebellion. “We know that Maduro does not have the backing or the respect of the armed forces,” Guaidó said in a video released Tuesday evening. “We should keep up the pressure.” Some military officials already supported Guaidó’s movement. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, head of Venezuela’s secret police, admonished Maduro in a letter Tuesday, saying, “The time has come to seek new ways of doing politics.”
The Spanish government on Wednesday confirmed that Venezuelan political activist Leopoldo López sought refuge at the ambassador’s residence in Caracas, along with his wife and daughter. Security forces released López from house arrest following an order from Guaidó.
In an hour-long televised address on Tuesday night, Maduro claimed he still had the military’s backing. He said the “loyal and obedient” armed forces thwarted the U.S.-backed plot to destroy the administration. He also encouraged his supporters to gather in the streets in “a large, millions-strong march of the working class.”
On Wednesday morning, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned that the United States prefers a peaceful transfer of power in Venezuela but would not hesitate to use military intervention if necessary. “Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox Business.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.