Maduro instructs military to prepare to repel USA attack on Venezuela

Masked members of a “colectivo”-pro-government cells attend a rally in Caracas

Masked members of a “colectivo”-pro-government cells attend a rally in Caracas

- On the same day, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the United States had recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation's "interim president".

Underscoring the continued military support for his socialist regime, Maduro delivered his televised address from a base in northwestern Cojedes state - where he appeared alongside his defense minister, Vladimir Padrino, and in the presence of more than 3,500 troops, according to Venezuela state television.

Guaidó told oil workers, "I am deeply moved by soldiers who, despite the fear inflicted on them by the Cuban intelligence and counter-intelligence forces, the tortures they have endured in basements, rose up and said 'you can count on us, Venezuela'".

Tensions escalated when Guaido, who heads Venezuela's National Assembly, declared himself acting president on January 23, a move which was supported by the US and many European and Latin American countries.

- On Jan. 23, Guaido, president of Venezuela's National Assembly, proclaimed himself "interim president" of the country.

"We're not a weak country but one with strong armed forces that has to show itself as united and cohesive as ever".

"The goal is to carry our message without falling into confrontation or provocation".

A small group of military personnel heeded Guaido's call to rise up on Tuesday, but the effort petered out, triggering two days of protests against the government in which four people were killed and several hundred injured. But the key to the power struggle lies with Venezuela's powerful army.

"I don't think this will produce a military breakdown, but it will contribute to something bigger happening soon", Marcos Rodriguez, a 24-year-old lawyer, told AFP outside La Carlota air base, the scene of Tuesday's uprising.

Despite Guaido's best efforts, the military has remained loyal to Maduro.

- On April 30, Guaido called on civilians and military to act against the government and urged Maduro to step down.

The standoff has drawn in major world powers, with the U.S. throwing its support behind Guaido and Russian Federation and China backing Maduro. He said he tried to get out of the way, and added the incident only strengthens his will. We want to get some humanitarian aid. People starve. That is what's happening right now.

"The problems in Venezuela have been years in the making".

Trump's tone struck a contrast with that of his top advisors, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, who tweeted bluntly that "Maduro must go".

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