On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited several military bases and met with members of the armed forces.
After head of the National Assembly head Juan Guaido declared himself the nation's interim president, the US, Canada and many Latin American and European states recognising the opposition leader and the country's head-of-state, Maduro said the National Armed Forces must be prepared to defend Venezuela and announced massive military exercises.
Patrullamos las costas de Puerto Cabello en los Tanques Anfibios, dispuestos para la defensa de nuestra patria. pic.twitter.com/f0EGrL9HB8— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) January 27, 2019
"We are preparing for the most important military exercises in our history," Maduro said during his visit to the military bases.
En la Base Naval C/A. Agustín Armario, afianzamos nuestra herencia Caribe que con espíritu guerrero defendió con su vida la patria. pic.twitter.com/li96sg9Bdk— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) January 27, 2019
He has already visited the 41th Armoured Brigade at Fort Paramacay and the Naval Base Agustín Armario, in the city of Puerto Cabello.
La Armada Bolivariana, siempre lista para defender nuestros mares con profesionalismo y patriotismo. ¡Los felicito muchachos y muchachas! pic.twitter.com/4CN6ePNinI— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) January 27, 2019
Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino said earlier that the Venezuelan army did not support the self-proclaimed leader and was ready to protect national sovereignty.
Nos estamos preparando para los ejercicios militares más importantes de nuestra historia, en homenaje al Bicentenario de Angostura. Su objetivo es acoplar toda la capacidad, operativa, organizacional, de armas y de unión cívico militar, para defender nuestra Patria. pic.twitter.com/TUsCWVn0uL— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) January 27, 2019
Maduro accused Washington of orchestrating a coup in the Latin American country and said that Caracas was severing diplomatic ties with Washington. US-Venezuelan relations have been strained for longer than Maduro has been in office; Trump said in August 2017 that he did not rule out a "military option" to put end to the chaos in Venezuela.