Venezuela's anti-Maduro uprising thwarted

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Soldiers stop a vehicle, whose passengers kneel on the ground outside the auto, as they detain the two passengers who were circulating on the Paramacay military base in Valencia, Venezuela, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017.

In 2014, the military issued an arrest warrant for Caguaripano and 30 other soldiers after he had called for a rebellion, saying the "armed forces can not be and are not indifferent" to what he called a "Castro-Communist system", a year after Maduro had taken over the presidency from Hugo Chavez.

He returned to Venezuela to lead Sunday's uprising, said Giomar Flores, a mutinous naval officer now in Bogota, Colombia, who said he is a spokesman for the group.

"These attacks, planned by delirious minds in Miami, only strengthen the morale of our armed forces and the Bolivarian people", said Socialist Party official Elias Jaua.

Hours before the attack began, a video was posted to social media showing a group of uniformed men declaring themselves against Maduro's "murderous tyranny".

Maduro said of those who escaped from the base: "We know where they are headed and all of our military and police force is deployed".

Of the video calling for an uprising, NPR's Philip Reeves reports, "the footage shows a man identifying himself as a captain demanding a transitional government and the restoration of constitutional order".

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Appearing Sunday in a YouTube video with about a dozen men in camouflage uniforms, some armed with automatic weapons, Caguaripano declared: "This is not a coup d'etat".

A key opposition figure, Maria Corina Machado, said Monday that "the time for talking is over", and said strong actions are needed to make Maduro understand he has to leave.

While a constituent assembly is normally created to rewrite an existing constitution or draft a new one, this assembly has already shown that it sees its powers as being much wider, such as sacking the chief prosecutor.

The White House said Mr Maduro was effectively a dictator after "seizing absolute power" with the vote for a constituent assembly. Other protests also emerged around Valencia into the afternoon.

Around 120 people have reportedly been killed in protests fuelled by anger at the socialist government over food shortages, soaring inflation and high crime. She also questioned why Cabello - one of Maduro's closest allies - rather than the Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino provided details of the incident.

In 2014, Captain Caguaripano released a 12-minute video denouncing the president during a previous wave of anti-government unrest.

In the 2015 parliamentary elections, discontent saw the Opposition win control of Venezuela's parliament, the National Assembly.

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Opposition leaders have called on the military, which historically has served as an arbiter of political disputes, to break with Maduro over what it considers violations of the constitution.

Conflicting accounts of the military action included claims that elements within the armored brigade supported the action before it was put down by forces loyal to the government.

Like Sunday's uprising, most manifestations of dissent among the troops have been small and isolated thus far.

Maduro frequently refers to opposition leaders and protesters as "fascists".

Ortega, who started criticizing the government this spring after the courts usurped power from the opposition-dominated legislature, had been a rare critical voice inside the beleaguered Maduro regime.

"I am still Venezuela's chief prosecutor", she said to applause.

President Maduro claims the new constituent assembly is meant to bring calm to a country that has seen months of violent unrest.

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