President blames Trump imperialists and ‘coup-mongering far right’ as rival Juan Guaidó calls for more protests
Nicolás Maduro claimed his troops have thwarted a botched attempt to topple him masterminded by Venezuela’s “coup-mongering far right” and Donald Trump’s deranged imperialist “gang”.
In an hour-long address to the nation on Tuesday night – his first since the pre-dawn uprising began – Maduro accused opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his political mentor Leopoldo López of seeking to spark an armed confrontation that might be used as a pretext for a foreign military intervention.
However, “loyal and obedient” members of Venezuela’s Bolivarian armed forces had put down the mutiny within hours of it starting shortly after 4am, Maduro claimed, in direct contradiction to Guaidó’s earlier remark that the president no longer had military backing.
By noon there only remained a small group of plotters who had chosen “the path of betrayal … [and] handed their souls over to the coup-mongering far right”.
Guaidó insisted that “a peaceful rebellion”, not an attempted military coup, was under way and urged supporters to return to the streets on Wednesday to continue what he called the final stage of “Operation Freedom”. He said Venezuelans now had the opportunity “to conquer their future” and pledged that the march would be the largest in the country’s history.