Venezuela's military defeats coup attempt by 'manipulated' soldiers
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said security forces had succeeded in frustrating an attempted coup.
Intelligence work allowed the army to follow rebel soldiers as they entered the main thoroughfare of Altamira, in an effort to take over the La Carlota military base in the capital Caracas, Padrino said.
He added that the scale of the rebellion was “insignificant.”
Flanked by high-ranking members of the army at the Caracas Battalion, Padrino said some 80 percent of the rebel troops that got as far as Altamira “were tricked ... through clumsy manipulation” and most have already returned to their units.
“Tell the people of Venezuela and the whole world that this violent action, which undermines the peace, the tranquility of the citizenry, has been defeated,” said Padrino.
The minister said that the coup was directed from Washington “with the intention to shed blood in the streets of Caracas.”
Opposition leader and self-proclaimed president-in-charge Juan Guaido announced that a coup was underway on Tuesday.
He released video footage of himself accompanied by a group of soldiers who had presumably turned against the government, near the La Carlota base.
Venezuela’s US-backed far right refused to recognize Nicolas Maduro’s win in presidential elections in May 2017.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza accused the US government of backing the attempted coup.
“The heads of the coup d’etat acknowledge their backer without scruples,” Arreaza said.
Arreaza made the remarks after US National Security Adviser John Bolton called on Venezuelan military leaders and other key officials to support Guaido. On Tuesday morning, Guaido showed up along with some military personnel outside La Carlota aviation military base in the east of the capital city of Caracas.
Maduro called on other countries “which continue to support the coup opposition” to rectify their positions.
“I want to make a call to those governments that are supporting the coup opposition,” he said in a televised address to his nation.
“Open your eyes. We are just showing part of the evidence of a coup that was intended.”
Accompanied by military leaders and other senior officials, the Venezuelan president rejected US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claim that he (Maduro) had a plane ready to flee to Cuba.
Maduro also said Bolton had “given orders to high authorities and civilians to join the coup d’etat.”
The Venezuelan president thanked “the pronouncements of solidarity, of support for the Constitution, for democracy, for the Bolivarian Government” by leaders, governments and social movements around the world.
World leaders urged restraint and political settlement by Venezuela’s political parties as the uprising aroused concern worldwide.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for “maximum restraint” in Venezuela to avoid violence and restore calm.
“The secretary-general urges all sides to exercise maximum restraint and he appeals to all stakeholders to avoid any violence and take immediate steps to restore calm,” Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the Venezuelan crisis should be resolved via a responsible negotiation process without preconditions.
“We call on all sides to renounce the use of violence,” it said.
“It is important to avoid disorder and bloodshed.”
Any actions should be taken exclusively within the confines of the law, in strict conformity with the Constitution and without destructive interference from outside the country, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the coup attempt, tweeting, “As a country which has experienced the negative consequences caused by coups, we condemn the coup bid in Venezuela.”
Pompeo said during a television interview yesterday that the United States was prepared to take military action to stem the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela.
“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 Network.
But he added that the United States would prefer a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela.