Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido has urged citizens to take part in what he described as “Operation Freedom”, which Guaido claimed would lead to the shift of power in the Latin American country. He did not elaborate on when the operation may kick off.
“The time is ripe for Operation Freedom so as to put maximum pressure [on Venezuelan authorities] for the final cessation of usurpation, the formation of transitional government and free and fair elections. Absolutely everyone will have a role at this stage of our struggle”, Guaido wrote in an Instagram post.
He also referred to special committees which “are being set up throughout the country” and which “will be charged with promoting […] actions to stop usurpation in every district, sector, trade union, educational institution and government body”.
Guaido made the remarks a few days after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro argued that “American imperialism” wants to kill him and that Caracas “just exposed the plan that the devil's puppet [Guaido] personally directed” to assassinate Maduro.
“We have evidence; they could not and cannot [succeed] because we are protected by God”, Maduro said, adding that the Prosecutor's Office had made serious progress in the case, with "new terrorists" expected to be arrested “in the coming days”.
The developments come as Venezuela remains embroiled in a severe political crisis which escalated after Guaido proclaimed himself the country’s interim president, contesting the re-election of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro last year.
Guaido immediately received support from the United States, which also denounced Maduro's re-election, along with a number of other countries. China, Cuba, Russia and a number of other states have endorsed Maduro as Venezuela's only legitimate president.