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Operation Freedom has begun: President Juan Guaido


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Venezuela's self-declared interim President Juan Guaido, flanked by military men and armoured vehicles, on Tuesday announced the beginning of the "final phase of Operation Freedom."
Speaking through the loudspeaker in Caracas, he said, "Operation Freedom has begun!"
"For many years, we have talked to the armed forces, and today it's clear to us that the armed forces are with the Venezuelan people, who are not with a dictator," CNN quoted Guaido, as saying.
Calling it a "coup", Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has signalled that he will not bow down, saying "We Will Win!"
"Nerves of Steel! I have spoken with the commanders of all the REDIs and ZODI of the country, who have expressed their total loyalty to the people, to the Constitution and to the fatherland. I call for maximum popular mobilization to ensure the victory of peace. We Will Win!" he said.
Meanwhile, local media have reported that Bolivarian National Guard, which were stopping people in various parts of the country are leaving the streets refusing to crackdown on anti-Maduro protestors.
Thousands of Venezuelan have taken to the streets and are cheering for Guaido.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Venezuela has asked its citizens to "shelter in place" if they cannot leave, avoid large gatherings and monitor local news for updates on the situation.
Demonstrations, the embassy warns, are happening throughout the country today and may continue in the following days.
The South American nation has been in the throes of a political crisis, which was accelerated when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself as the President of the nation in January. The United States immediately recognised him as the interim President, demanding Maduro to step down.
Maduro continues to hold on to his post despite several countries calling for his resignation. Venezuela is also facing an acute economic and humanitarian crisis at the moment, which is worsened by repeated sanctions from the United States.
Countries like China, Russia, Turkey amongst others have slammed international interference in Venezuelan affairs, throwing their weight behind Maduro.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 9:42 PM IST

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