rainn.png
Sunday November 29th, 2020 8:54PM

Venezuela quells soldiers' revolt, top court blasts congress

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela plunged deeper into turmoil Monday as security forces put down a pre-dawn uprising by national guardsmen that triggered violent street protests, and the Supreme Court moved to undercut the opposition-controlled congress' defiant new leadership.

Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said 27 guardsmen were arrested and more could be detained as the investigation unfolds.

The mutiny struck at a time when opposition leaders have regained momentum in their efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro. They have called for a nationwide demonstration Wednesday, urging Venezuelans — especially members of the armed forces — to abandon Maduro.

The uprising triggered protests in a poor neighborhood just a few miles (kilometers) from Venezuela's presidential palace. It was dispersed with tear gas as residents set fire to a barricade of trash and chanted demands that Maduro leave power.

The military said in a statement said that it had recovered all the weapons and captured those involved in what it described as "treasonous" acts motivated by "obscure interests tied to the far right."

It said at around 2:50 a.m. (06:50 GMT), a small group of guardsmen took captive a captain in charge of a police station in western Caracas and then moved across the capital in two military trucks to the poor neighborhood of Petare, where they stole a cache of weapons from another outpost.

Officials said 25 soldiers were quickly caught at the National Guard outpost 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the Miraflores presidential palace, and two more arrests were made at another location.

A few hours earlier, a group of heavily armed national guardsmen published a series of videos on social media saying they won't recognize Maduro's government, which has come under increasing domestic and international pressure over a newly begun second term that the opposition-controlled congress and many nations consider illegitimate.

In one of the videos, a man identifying himself as 3rd Sgt. Alexander Bandres Figueroa, addressing the "people of Venezuela," urges his compatriots to take to the streets to show support for their rebellion.

"You asked to take to the streets to defend the constitution, well here we are," he said in a video shot at night in which several heavily armed men and a national guard truck can be seen in the background.

"You wanted us to light the fuse, so we did. We need your support," he added.

At daybreak in the adjacent neighborhood of Cotiza, a group of shirtless young men, some with their faces covered, built a barricade across the street with a burning car, heavy sewer grates and a large chunk of concrete.

An angry group of women shouted that they have lived for too long without running water and tear gas fired by security forces choked their children.

"Freedom! Freedom!" they chanted. "Maduro has to go!"

"We must defend our homeland," Maria Fernanda Rodriguez, a 36-year-old manicurist, told The Associated Press, her eyes welling from the tear gas.

Hours later, the government-stacked Supreme Court said it was throwing out recent measures by the National Assembly that declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate, deepening a standoff with the opposition-controlled legislature.

The justices ruled that the new leadership of congress itself is invalid, and urged the country's chief prosecutor to investigate whether congressional leaders acted criminally in openly defying the nation's constitution.

Juan Guaido, a 35-year-old newly seated as president of congress, appealed to the military, urging them to demand Maduro abandon power in a nationwide protests Wednesday — a historic date commemorating the end of Venezuela's military dictatorship in 1958.

"We are not asking you to mount a coup. We are not asking you to shoot," Guaido said in a video circulated on social media. "On the contrary, we are asking you not to shoot at us, but rather to defend together with us the right of our people to be heard."

Late Monday, Colombian TV played a video showing a group of unidentified men claiming to be soldiers who are friends of Venezuela's armed forces holed up in Colombia, saying they are responding to Guaido by preparing an advance into Venezuela to help restore democracy.

The video shown on NTN-TV in Bogota shows roughly two dozen men wearing combat fatigues, but unarmed. The Associated Press could not independently verify where the soldiers were located or their identities.

Dozens of foreign governments have refused to recognize Maduro's second term, some saying they are ready to recognize Guaido as interim president until fair elections can be held.

In addition, the Trump administration is weighing tougher financial sanctions on Venezuela, while a dozen mostly conservative Latin American and Caribbean governments said they will block officials from Maduro's government from entering their countries and take steps to freeze assets that are the byproduct of corruption

While discontent among Venezuelans is rising amid widespread food shortages and hyperinflation, Maduro is believed to have the loyalty of his top military command. In the past, troops have easily put down small uprisings.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said on Twitter that those responsible for the incident would be punished with the full force of the law.

Maduro was the target of an apparent assassination attempt Aug. 4 when two drones armed with explosives detonated near him as he spoke at a military parade. Officials have jailed dozens of suspects, including an opposition lawmaker.

In June 2017, rogue police officer Oscar Perez stole a helicopter and flew it over the capital, launching grenades at the Supreme Court building. He and several comrades died in a gunbattle with police after months on the lam.

Cabello, Venezuela's powerful socialist party leader, said the opposition demonstration expected Wednesday doesn't worry him, because the government will flood the streets with its own loyal supporters.

"It's the right that stirs up violence — not us," Cabello said. "How many marches do we hold here every week without a single act of violence?"

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
MLK holiday offers stage for Democratic hopefuls
MLK holiday offers stage for Democratic hopefuls as they fan out across the country
1:08PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Utah women's hoops ranked for first time in more than decade
Utah earned its first appearance in The Associated Press women's basketball poll in a decade entering at No. 21 on Monday
1:02PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Prop bets popular for Super Bowl, but NFL wants them gone
Wagers on how many touchdown passes New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will throw or how many rushing yards Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley will gain are likely to be popular options for bettors in the Super Bowl
12:55PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kamala Harris opens presidential bid
Kamala Harris jumps into 2020 Democratic presidential race, seeking to 'bring our voices together'
12:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
Venezuela quells soldiers' revolt, top court blasts congress
Venezuela has plunged deeper into turmoil as security forces put down a pre-dawn uprising by national guardsmen that triggered violent street protests and the Supreme Court has outlawed the opposition-controlled congress' defiant new leadership
12:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Brexit: EU official welcomes scrapping of fee
The European Parliament's chief Brexit official has welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to scrap the 65 pound ($84) fee that the EU citizens living in Britain would have to pay to get settled status after Brexit
11:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
For the poor, the safety net in a shutdown doesn't feel safe
As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history stretches into a fifth week, America's safety net no longer feels so safe
10:02AM ( 3 hours ago )
Israel says its jets struck Iranian military sites in Syria
Israel says its jets struck Iranian targets in Syria, in rare departure from policy of ambiguity
9:22AM ( 3 hours ago )
With House, Dems eager to bring DeVos under closer oversight
House Democrats are preparing to bring Education Secretary Betsy DeVos under the sharpest scrutiny she's seen since taking office
9:10AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Macron ex-security aide: Diplomatic passports given back
French President Emmanuel Macron's former security aide, at the heart of a damaging political scandal, has told a Senate commission that he turned in his two diplomatic passports after being fired last summer but they were returned to him two months later
12:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump visits MLK memorial
President Donald Trump has paid a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington
11:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
China grants Ivanka Trump 5 trademarks amid trade talks
China OK's five new Ivanka Trump trademarks amid trade talks with Washington
10:23AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The shutdown today: Trump lashes out after Dems reject offer
The shutdown today: Trump lashes out after Democrats reject his offer
12:18AM ( 12 hours ago )
Filipino Muslims vote in referendum on autonomous region
Muslims in the southern Philippines are voting in a referendum on a new autonomous region that seeks to end nearly half a century of unrest
10:42PM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Shutdown proposal unlikely to break logjam
Schumer: Senate won't pass president's proposal to break shutdown stalemate
5:07PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Albania opposition leader fined for defaming ruling lawmaker
An Albanian court has convicted the main opposition Democratic Party leader of defamation over drug-related allegations he made against a senior governing lawmaker
12:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
French watchdog slaps Google with $57M fine under new EU law
Franc's data privacy watchdog slaps Google with $57M fine under new EU data privacy rules
11:11AM ( 2 hours ago )
Former French swimming champion on trial for child sex abuse
A former French swimming champion is on trial in southwest France for the alleged rape and sexual abuse of young boys and adolescents during the decade he ran an ice hockey club in northern France
10:46AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Prop bets popular for Super Bowl, but NFL wants them gone
Wagers on how many touchdown passes New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will throw or how many rushing yards Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley will gain are likely to be popular options for bettors in the Super Bowl
12:55PM ( 22 minutes ago )
MLK holiday offers stage for Democratic hopefuls
MLK holiday offers stage for Democratic hopefuls as they fan out across the country
12:48PM ( 29 minutes ago )
China probe faults scientist for gene-edited babies work
A Chinese investigation into reports of the world's first gene-edited babies seems to have confirmed their existence
12:44PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Kamala Harris opens presidential bid
Kamala Harris jumps into 2020 Democratic presidential race, seeking to 'bring our voices together'
12:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
Albania opposition leader fined for defaming ruling lawmaker
An Albanian court has convicted the main opposition Democratic Party leader of defamation over drug-related allegations he made against a senior governing lawmaker
12:07PM ( 1 hour ago )