21:44 GMT +321 October 2019
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    Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to demand a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas

    Exiled Venezuelan Officers Incite the Military to Stop Supporting Maduro

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    The exiled military opposition members claim that the armed forces are ready to turn against the nation's president and have urged people to take to the streets. The officers want National Assembly President Guaido to be sworn in as the nation's president and commander-in-chief.

    Some Venezuelan military officers are becoming more and more compelled to turn against President Nicolas Maduro, exiled military officers have claimed, MSN reports.

    The US-based exiled military officials say that the serving officers have become disillusioned with Maduro, but no one wants to lead an all-out insurrection. The opposition officers also claim that the military is unwilling to repress massive protests, and have called for the people of Venezuela to take to the streets.

    "We're at the best time for something like what happened in 2002," former Maj. Gen. Herbert Garcia Plaza, who now lives in Washington, DC, says, referring to a military coup that led to the brief ouster of President Hugo Chavez.

    "The armed forces today do not have the capacity or the desire to go against the population in a massive protest," he says.

    Former General Anotonio Rivero, another exiled officer who now lives in Miami, also claims the Venezuelan military was "disappointed" in Maduro, and claimed they would like to see National Assembly President Juan Guaido take the role of commander-in-chief.

    According to Rivero, Guaido should have been sworn in as the nation's leader on January 10.

    Their comments come as what appears to be a part of a larger coordinated coup effort, with provocative material starting to spread across the social media, according to a report by MSN. There are videos, in which people in military uniforms who claim to represent an important part of the armed forces, incite Venezuelans to protest on January 23.

    "Be assured that you can fully exercise your constitutional rights and go into the streets to protest peacefully on Jan. 23. The armed forces are constitutionally mandated to guarantee the security of all Venezuelans," the group said in a communique read by dissident Lieutenant Josue Hidalgo Azuaje.

    The splinter group called on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces to stop supporting President Maduro and abandon the chain of command, which they claim is "being used and abused" by the government.

    The words of the US-based Venezuelan provocateurs, in fact, contrast starkly with statements which have been issued by defence officials within the country, MSN reports.

    Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez declared last week that he'd be ready to give his life in defence of Maduro's government, the report says.

    On 10 January, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for his second presidential term, which will last until 2025. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the development at the time, saying "the Maduro regime is illegitimate" and adding that the United States will persist in its efforts, using its economic and diplomatic power to the fullest, to "restore a real democracy to that country."

    In 2017, while still the director of the CIA, Pompeo freely admitted that the US was working to change the elected government of Venezuela, and collaborating with Colombia and Mexico to do so. The CIA had been accused repeatedly of bankrolling and organising the 2002 coup that briefly removed Chavez from power. 

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    riot, protests, Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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