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Venezuela claims to have foiled 'extreme right' military coup

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Tuesday 22 Jan 2019

Venezuela claims to have foiled 'extreme right' military coup

(Sharecast News) - An attempted revolt against the Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro by 27 members of the country's National Guard has been quashed, according to the defence ministry.
Footage posted to social media on Monday showed armed men promising to reestablish order in the embattled South American nation, while in one video a man who identifies himself as Sergeant Alexander Bandres Figueroa tells viewers "Get out on to the streets" to support a revolution.

The ministry of defence said the group of National Guard members had seized weapons from a security post in the Petare neighbourhood of Caracas and held four officers hostage before making their way to Cotiza in the early hours of Monday.

All 27 guardsmen have been detained and a government statement blamed "the dark interests of the extreme right" for the uprising, sticking to the Maduro administration's usual script for dismissing dissent in the country.

Having taken power following the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, Maduro began his second term as president on 10 January despite widespread international condemnation of his tenure.

Venezuela is in the grips of an economic and humanitarian crisis, with more than one million refugees having fled across the border to Colombia by the end of November and more than three million having left overall, according to UN and Colombian government figures.

Those who have stayed behind reportedly have to endure shortages of water, food and medicine, as well as frequent power cuts and violent clashes between protesters and government forces.

Luisa Ortega Díaz, Venezuela's exiled former chief prosecutor, tweeted in support of the "young patriots" she said were behind the revolt: "The bravery of these national guard boys shows us that yes there is dignity and willpower in the barracks to get us out of tyranny [...] We must support military rebellion."

Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who recently declared himself ready to assume Venezuela's presidency and has been offered support from the Brazilian, Colombian and US governments, said the incident reflected the widespread hostility to Maduro within Venezuela's armed forces and called on the military to join "the side of the people".

Maduro is unlikely to receive any respite as opposition leaders have called for the people to stage nationwide protests on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of a 1958 uprising that brought down the right wing dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

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