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Violence in Venezuela: Maduro's Military Fights Guaido Uprising, Drives Over Civilian Protestors

Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido (AP Photos)

CBN News Contributing Reporter Chuch Holton appeared on CBN's Newswatch program Tuesday to talk about the situation in Venezuela and what his sources in the Venezuelan military were telling him about the uprising.  

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido took to the streets with a top activist and some heavily armed soldiers Tuesday, calling for the military to rise up and overthrow socialist leader Nicolás Maduro.

Violent street battles erupted during the early morning hours in parts of Caracas in what was the most serious challenge yet to Maduro’s rule.

Despite media reports that the rebellion seems to have limited military support, CBN News Contributing Reporter Chuck Holton says this move has been planned by members of the military for some time.

"I've been meeting with members of the Venezuelan military who defected back on Jan. 23rd when the aid got burned there," Holton told CBN's Newswatch program Tuesday. "What they were telling me is that this has been planned for some time. Now they believe it may have gone off a little half-cocked, but they told me the military of Venezuela has been behind Guaido in large parts, a vast majority of them, but they have been waiting for the right moment to strike." 

"These troops have families," Holton noted.  "And if they stand up to Maduro, the troops and their families are in great peril.  This is a widespread movement not just in Caracas."

Guaido started the day's events when he appeared in an early morning video that showed him surrounded by heavily-armed soldiers outside a Caracas air base. He said the soldiers were joining him to protect the country's constitution.

Guiado then took to the streets with activist Leopoldo Lopez who said he'd just been set free by members of the military in response to an order from Guaido.

Lopez said, "I want to tell the Venezuelan people: this is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers."

One of the soldiers said "it's now or never."

Thousands of protestors have responded to the call to rise up. Maduro's military has responded as well and has targeted the protestors. This graphic video below shows a military vehicle driving into a crowd and running over people.

Guiado is the head of the Venezuelan National Assembly and is recognized by dozens of countries — including the US — as Venezuela's president.

Maduro's government said it's putting down what it callse a small coup attempt by military traitors working with right-wing opponents.

The country's Supreme Court issued arrest warrants for Guaido, Lopez, and other opposition leaders.

President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the protestors saying: "I am monitoring the situation in Venezuela very closely. The United States stands with the People of Venezuela and their Freedom!"

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been tweeting the events in Venezuela throughout the day.

Earlier, Rubio encouraged Guaido supporters, tweeting, "Today there can be no bystanders in #Venezuela... military, police, judicial & political leaders you must either support restoring constitutional democracy or you are a supporter of Cuba's efforts to colonize Venezuela...the choice you make will define the rest of your life."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to the uprising in Venezuela tweeting this morning: "Today interim President Juan Guaido announced the start of Operacion Libertad. The U.S. government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated."


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