Venezuelan opposition announces final phase of ousting Maduro. Govt: It’s coup

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Tuesday he had begun the ‘final phase’ of his plan to oust President Nicolas Maduro, calling on Venezuelans and the military to back him to end Maduro’s ‘usurpation’, Reuters reports.

In the video above, Guaido is seen when being surrounded by armed men, including opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez who was earlier placed under house arrest. According to Guaido, the army took ‘the right decision’ to support the opposition which will start peaceful protesting on May, 1. The opposition politician urged the military and ordinary citizens to join them.

In turn, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the government was confronting a small group of ‘military traitors’ seeking to promote a coup.

In late January, mass protesting against president Nicolas Maduro erupted in Venezuela. Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition National Assembly, declared himself acting president during an opposition rally in Caracas. The United States, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay and the Vatican officially acknowledged Guaido as a legitimate interim head of Venezuela while Russia, Mexico and Bolivia failed to recognize his legitimacy.

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On January 25, news agency Reuters reported with reference to sources familiar with the situation that members of the so-called Wagner private military company headed for Venezuela to guard Nicolas Maduro. The grouping of Russian mercenaries led by Commander Dmitry Utkin is supposedly financed by Evgeny Prigozhin whose nickname is ‘Putin’s Chef’. Wagner is supposedly fighting for separatists in Donbas and for al-Assad in Syria. In turn, the Kremlin denied the reports about Russia’s military being involved in the developments in Venezuela.