Clashes Erupt After US-Backed Guaidó Calls for Military Uprising in Venezuela

The elected government of Venezuela said it is working to put down a right-wing coup attempt after U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido called for a military uprising in a video posted to Twitter Tuesday morning.

“The moment is now,” said Guaido, who was flanked by dozens of heavily armed soldiers and armored vehicles. “People of Venezuela, it is necessary that we all go out into the streets, to support democracy and recover our liberty. Organized and united, we should move to the main military installations.”

Shortly following Guaido’s call, videos posted to social media appeared to show clashes between government forces and the opposition beginning to erupt.

On Twitter, Venezuelan information minister Jorge Rodriguez said the government is “confronting and deactivating a small group of traitor military personnel who positioned themselves… to promote a coup d’état against the Constitution.”

And Vladimir Padrino, the Maduro government’s defense minister, said in a tweet: “We reject this coup attempt that wants to fill the country with violence. The pseudo-political leaders of this subversive attempt have employed troops and policemen with weapons on a public highway to sow chaos and terror.”

Even as the news of Guaido’s video statement was breaking, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the loudest voices in the U.S. government backing the overthrow of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, took to Twitter with a series of posts calling on Venezuelans, including military and police, to pick up arms against the government.

“Liberty & freedom is never easy,” tweeted Rubio from his safe vantage point in the U.S., thousands of miles away. “But it is always worth it.”

Online, RT was carrying a live stream from a section of a highway in Caracas near where the reported clashes appeared to be taking place: