CARACAS — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday called on the armed forces to oppose “any coup plotter” after a military uprising in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido fizzled out, and subsequent street clashes left four protesters dead.
On Tuesday, Guaido — who has been recognized by more than 50 countries as the crisis-wracked country’s interim president — urged the armed forces to rise up against the embattled leader.
A small group heeded the call, but the movement failed to ignite — the military leadership ratified their support for the government, and Maduro is standing his ground despite international pressure.
“Yes, we are in combat — keep morale high in this fight to disarm any traitor, any coup plotter,” Maduro said Thursday at a televised event with the military high command, at which he was surrounded by soldiers.
“No one can be afraid — it is the hour to defend our right to peace,” he said at a ceremony attended by 4,500 military personnel, according to the government.
Defense Minister General Vladimir Padrino said: “We’ve come to ratify our loyalty... to the supreme commander of the armed forces, who is our only president, President Nicolas Maduro.”
The failed uprising sparked two days of protests against the government in which four people were killed, including two teenagers who died of their injuries on Thursday.