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Maduro showcases military loyalty amid crisis

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 2, 2019 - Duration: 02:09s

Maduro showcases military loyalty amid crisis

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and key military figures made a show of unity in a television broadcast on Thursday, seeking to reject claims by the United States and the opposition that the armed forces high command was prepared to turn on him.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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Maduro showcases military loyalty amid crisis

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and key military figures on Thursday made a public show of unity after days of unrest.

Maduro praised the army for its loyalty to the socialist government.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO, SAYING: "They were not afraid to say 'no' to the traitors, 'no' to the participants of an attempted coup.

No one can be scared!" The televised display is meant to reject claims by the United States and the opposition that the armed forces high command was prepared to turn on the president.

Venezuela's capital Caracas was wracked with chaos this week as anti-government protesters clashed with police.

The violence sparked after opposition leader Juan Guaido claimed to have the military on his side, and called on them to help overthrow Maduro.

The United States supported the opposition protests, and this week claimed Venezuela's defense minister and others had secretly agreed to remove the socialist president.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JOHN BOLTON, SAYING (TUESDAY): "They committed to support ousting Maduro.

[FLASH] And it's time for the rest of the military to show what their own families believe ought to happen, and that's Maduro needs to go." But after two days of street clashes, the protests appeared to fizzle.

And on Thursday Maduro appeared, flanked on his right by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO, SAYING: "The order has been given.

To the traitors, to stop them.

To the coup plotters, to reject them and stop them too and the Armed Forces, united and cohesive, under the supreme leadership of the law and Constitution." He called the unrest a failed coup, and blamed the United States for fomenting the violence.

The political standoff between the government and the opposition appears for now to have settled into a stalemate.

But in clinging to power, Maduro can claims victory, and the White House's ambitions foiled.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I'd like to begin today by sending our prayers to the people of Venezuela, in their righteous struggle for freedom." Beyond prayers, it's unclear what else the U.S. is prepared do to.

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