[News] Venezuelan Military Putsch Defeated as Leopoldo Lopez Takes Refuge in Spanish Embassy
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Wed May 1 10:50:11 EDT 2019
Venezuelan Military Putsch Defeated as Leopoldo Lopez Takes Refuge in
By Ricardo Vaz - April 30, 2019
Caracas, April 30, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com
<http://venezuelanalysis.com/>) – “Interim President” Juan Guaido and
right-wing opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez spearheaded an unsuccessful
coup attempt <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14451> in Caracas on
The thwarted uprising <https://venezuelanalysis.com/images/14452>
started in the early morning hours when renegade military and
intelligence officers reportedly released Lopez from house arrest. Lopez
then joined Guaido and a handful of soldiers on the Altamira overpass in
east Caracas, outside the Francisco de Miranda airbase, known as La Carlota.
Lopez and Guaido released videos on social media, calling on the armed
forces to back their efforts and urging supporters to take to the
streets, in what they termed as the “final phase” of the so-called
“Operation Freedom.” Large crowds of anti-government protesters, as well
as opposition lawmakers, made their way to the Altamira overpass.
The scene then saw armed confrontations between the soldiers that backed
Juan Guaido and those inside La Carlota airbase. According to witnesses
in La Carlota, the Venezuelan armed forces fired tear gas towards the
Altamira overpass, where civilian protesters began to gather, whereas
Guaido’s soldiers returned live fire. Riot police also appeared on the
scene to try and disperse the crowds. There are reports of protesters
wounded and arrested that are unconfirmed at the time of writing.
At the same time, many of the originally deployed soldiers withdrew from
the scene, later revealing that they had been “deceived” by their
superiors. Simultaneously, Chavista leaders took to state and social
media to denounce what they termed a coup in progress, and large crowds
gathered to defend Miraflores Presidential Palace.
Guaido later attempted to lead a march, including some armed soldiers,
into western Caracas but was stopped by Venezuelan National Guard forces
in Chacaito, some 10 kilometers away from Miraflores.
Leopoldo Lopez <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11452> was later
reported to have joined his family in the Chilean Embassy. However, the
Chilean ambassador subsequently explained on Twitter that Lopez and his
family had instead moved to the Spanish Embassy, in what he termed a
“personal choice.” Lopez was serving a 13 year sentence
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11502> for his role in the deadly
2014 anti-government protests, which was later commuted to house arrest.
Brazilian authorities also confirmed at the time that 25 soldiers who
had taken part in the failed insurrection had taken refuge in the
Brazilian embassy in Caracas.
For his part, Guaido was absent for several hours before releasing a
video on social media in the evening, calling on his supporters to take
to the streets on Wednesday to continue the “final phase” of “Operation
The opposition leader went on claim President Maduro “does not have the
support of the armed forces,” and vowed that his efforts to oust the
Venezuelan government continue “as strong as ever.”
The day saw several localised outbreaks of violence in Caracas and
several other cities, with protesters setting up burning barricades and
authorities responding with rubber bullets and tear gas. Violent
protests were particularly focused in traditional opposition strongholds
of eastern Caracas, including outside La Carlota airbase. At the time of
writing there are still reports of blocked roads and detonations.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro addressed the country in a televised
speech on Tuesday evening, accusing those responsible for the military
uprising of trying to provoke a “massacre” and lauding the armed forces
for their restraint in avoiding direct confrontations.
“Who benefits from these [confrontations]? Who finances them?
Undoubtedly the leadership of the terrorist ultra-right party Popular
Will,” Maduro declared, referring to the party of Lopez and Guaido.
He added that today’s actions would not go “unpunished,” explaining that
eight military officers and policemen were wounded in the armed
confrontations, before going on to blast US leaders for their role in
endorsing the coup attempt. Maduro also showed his appreciation for the
tens of thousands who mobilized to defend the presidential palace
beginning in the early hours of Tuesday.
The Venezuelan president, who was accompanied by high-ranking political
and military leaders, ended his speech by calling for a “massive
mobilization” on May 1st to celebrate workers’ day and “defend peace.”
US officials also weighed in during the day, with National Security
Advisor John Bolton warning Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino and
Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno that this was their “last chance
support Guaido. President Donald Trump likewise tweeted
the US “stands with the People of Venezuela and their Freedom!”
The coup attempt was also condemned by world leaders, with Bolivian
President Evo Morales “vigorously condemning” the putschand Cuban
President Miguel Diaz-Canel rejecting “an attempt to fill the country
The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica
Mogherini issued a statement
<https://twitter.com/EUCouncilPress/status/1123309466965938176> in the
afternoon, rejecting “any form of violence” and urging “restraint,” in
contrast with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who tweeted
support for the unfolding coup. For his part, UN Secretary General also
called for “maximum restraint” and for “immediate steps” to be taken to
/Edited by Lucas Koerner from Caracas./
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