Venezuela coup attempt draws world reactions

Venezuela coup attempt draws world reactions

Tear gas was sacked 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.

Lopez posted a picture on Twitter with men in uniform, and said it was taken at the La Carlota military base in eastern Caracas. Hours later, government forces fired tear gas and clashed with some of his supporters in the streets of Caracas.

Maduro's administration said Guaido's move is a coup attempt and called the military members who've sided with Guaido "traitors".

Guaido's representative to Washington fought back, telling reporters, "This is not a military coup". Dick Durbin, D-Ill., again voiced support for the opposition and its stated push for democracy.

The minister also said that he holds the opposition led by the US-backed self-proclaimed "interim president", Juan Guaido, responsible for "any death ... on the streets" while accusing the opponents of the Venezuelan government of "seeking bloodshed".

Earlier on Tuesday, opposition leader Juan Guaido released a video on Twitter in which he can be seen alongside soldiers and calling for uprising to end the "usurpation" of Maduro.

"To [Guaido], the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today".

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Vice President Mike Pence tweeted "We are with you!" "You have to understand, in Venezuela gun ownership is not something that's open to everybody".

The U.S. views Maduro's re-election a year ago as illegitimate, with President Donald Trump calling the election a "sham".

Pompeo said the US was anticipating this day sooner or later.

Trump and senior foreign policy figures in his administration all weighed in during the day, casting the effort headed by opposition leaders Juan Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez as a move to restore democracy, not an attempted coup like the short-lived effort to oust then-President Hugo Chavez in 2002 that seemed to have USA support.

Venezuela's Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino appeared on television surrounded by soldiers, asserting their support for Mr Maduro as protesters demanded he step down. The U.S. has recognized Guaidó, the opposition leader of the National Assembly, as interim president. In recent weeks, Russian Federation also sent soldiers and officers to help in Venezuela defense operations.

Tens of thousands of people were marching in Caracas in support of Guaido on Tuesday, clashing with riot police along the main Francisco Fajardo thoroughfare. "But we are hopeful, and I think that this is the beginning of the end of this regime", said Jose Madera, 42, a mechanic, sitting atop his motorbike in a protest on Tuesday.