Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday endorsed a military uprising in Venezuela spearheaded by opposition leader Juan Guaidó to overthrow longtime socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.
Troops loyal to Guaidó wore blue bandanas and shot tear gas early Tuesday from inside the Carlota air base, an air force installation in the city of Caracas, The Associated Press reported. Armed national guardsmen and armored vehicles back Guaidó, in addition to hundreds of military members that flipped loyalties to support Guaidó.
Shortly after the operation began, America’s leaders came out in solidarity with Guaidó and his supporters.
To @jguaido, the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad—Estamos con ustedes! We are with you! America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored. Vayan con dios! #FreeVenezuela
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 30, 2019
Today interim President Juan Guaido announced start of Operación Libertad. The U.S. Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated. #EstamosUnidosVE
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 30, 2019
“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela,” National Security Adviser John Bolton tweeted Tuesday. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan also tweeted out support.
The U.S. Government stands in support of interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido and the people of Venezuela in their quest for freedom and democracy as they take back their country with #OperacionLibertad.
— Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan (@ActingSecDef) April 30, 2019
Republican Sen. Rick Scott tweeted Tuesday that Venezuela’s Supreme Court should immediately delegitimize Maduro’s government.
Maduro is not the rightful leader of this country and the people of Venezuela are yearning for freedom. It’s time to restore constitutional democracy! #OperaciónLibertad
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) April 30, 2019
A group of Maduro’s security forces drove up to the airbase on motorcycles after the uprising began and dropped tear gas, prompting an exchange of gunfire between opposition and Maduro forces. No fatalities have been reported thus far, the AP reported. (RELATED: Live Updates: Firefights In Venezuelan Capital As Military Uprising Ensues)
Hundreds of Venezuelan citizens gathered near the air base to support the uprising that could develop into the strongest attempt to overthrow Maduro the nation has seen.
— Flawless Kings Entertainment. (@KingsFlawless) April 30, 2019
— Jay Talivo (@JTalivo) April 30, 2019
“I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers,” activist Leopoldo Lopez said Tuesday, the AP reported. Lopez said the military freed him early that day. “Everyone should come to the streets, in peace,” he said.
Lopez has been imprisoned since 2014 for leading anti-Maduro protests.
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