Russian officials have denied that Maduro was told to stay in Venezuela. The comments from the officials come hours after the US revealed that Maduro was planning to flee the country but that he decided to stay after speaking with Russia.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on early Tuesday that Maduro had an airplane on the tarmac and that he was ready to leave. He added during the interview that Russians indicated that he should stay.
Venezuelan officials have also denied that he was told to stay by Russia. The two have criticized the US for what happened yesterday. Venezuelan officials claim they defeated a coup attempt.
During the early hours of Tuesday, Juan Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez made an appearance along with several members of the military. The members of the military were wearing blue armbands.
Leopoldo Lopez, who was under house arrest, revealed that he had been released. Mr. Lopez was jailed over protests a few years back. He is considered a strong candidate for the presidency of Venezuela if there are elections.
Juan Guaido said it was the final phase of the process to remove Maduro from power. Mr. Guaido took over as interim president in January and has regularly called for protests. Maduro claims he is the legitimate president and that the next presidential election will take place when his term ends in 2025.
Russia is one of Venezuela’s biggest supporters. The country has helped Venezuela with billions of dollars during its economic crisis, which continues to get even worse. Russia has sent military specialists as well as equipment to Caracas. Reports have previously mentioned the arrival of Russian planes and mercenaries to protect Maduro.
Venezuelan officials said yesterday that they were battling a small group of traitors. But their comments seemed to be much different than what was seen in the videos. Several military members were seen fighting near the La Carlota air base. Other videos showed members of the national guard sitting in a vehicle and supporting the protest that was taking place in another city.
Maduro does appear to have the support of some of the military, including Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who is the Defence Minister. Reports revealed yesterday that he was one of the people holding negotiations with the opposition and that he had agreed with two others that Maduro had to step away. He said yesterday that he is loyal to Maduro. A video yesterday showed a group of people, believed to be his family, asking him to change his mind and do the right thing.
Venezuelan opposition supporters have been holding massive protests ever since. The UN human rights office recently said that it was worried about the reports of security forces using excessive force against protesters. A video from yesterday’s protests showed a military armored vehicle attempting to run over protesters. It is unclear if there were any people seriously injured in the incident, which ended with the vehicle driving away.
Another video showed members of the police clashing with a group of armed men, which are believed to be PSUV supporters. The group was seen standing near a parking lot and firing at the protesters. They are seen running inside the building when police start firing at them.
Reports say Mr. Lopez is now in Spain’s embassy but that he has not requested for political asylum. It was initially reported that he was in Chile’s embassy but that he decided to transfer.