Juan Guaido calls on soldiers to join opposition in ‘final phase’ of Venezuela takeover

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido announced Tuesday that he had support from a group of “brave soldiers” in a video recorded at an air force base in Caracas and broadcast on social media.

“Today brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men supporting the Constitution have answered our call,” Mr Guaido said in a video recorded with a small group of uniformed men, one day before a planned anti-government rally.

At the same time opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez said he was “freed” from jail by soldiers supporting Mr Guaido and the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro denounced an “attempted military coup.”

“This is the moment of all Venezuelans, those in uniform and those who aren’t,” said Mr Lopez in his first public appearance since being detained in 2014 for leading anti-government protests. “Everyone should come to the streets, in peace.”

The comments by Mr Lopez came moments after Mr Guaido appeared in his early morning video shot at a Caracas air base.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Twitter that Mr Maduro’s government was confronting a small “coup attempt” led by military “traitors” backed by Right-wing opponents.

Tear gas was fired at a highway overpass next to the Caracas air base where several heavily-armed soldiers with a blue band wrapped around their forearms had been standing guard. The tear gas appeared to have been fired from inside the air base.

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