Venezuela's opposition leader declares 'final phase' of 'usurpation'

Guaido cancels western Venezuela rally after 'dictatorship' blocks route

Speaking from a military base, Guaido and his supporters say the time has come to confront Maduro's government.

The Trump administration was quick to boost Guaido and the opposition, issuing statements of support.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler and fellow opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez address a crowd of supporters in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019.

Maduro said on Tuesday he had spoken with military leaders and that they had shown him "their total loyalty".

He said he was at the Caracas air base La Carlota. Protesters were also seen throwing rocks, but being repelled by tear gas and water cannon.

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In spite of steady pressure from the USA, most Latin American nations and Europe, Maduro has clung to power - thanks in large part to support from Russian Federation.

But Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is loyal to Maduro, blamed the United States. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., again voiced support for the opposition and its stated push for democracy.

Lopez then joined Guaido and a handful of members from different branches of the armed forces in the Altamira highway in eastern Caracas close to La Carlota airbase.

"They negotiated for a long time on the means of restoring democracy but it seems that today they are not going forward", said US envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, while USA national security adviser John Bolton said: "All agreed that Maduro had to go".

The U.S. "fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy", added Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, although he stopped short of outright endorsing the actions taken Tuesday.

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In Washington, D.C., White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump "has been briefed and is monitoring the ongoing situation".

Pompeo said the USA was anticipating this day sooner or later.

As Baldwin questioned Sanders on a number of subjects, including healthcare and his vote in support of a 1994 tough-on-crime bill, Venezuelans were facing down pro-Maduro forces using armored vehicles to mow down protesters. The leader of Venezuela's National Assembly said Maduro's re-election should not be recognized because he had barred his opponents from running against him.

In a release moments ago, Minister of National Security Stuart Young acknowledged reports that "certain elements of the Venezuelan military have indicated support for Mr Juan Guaido and that support has resulted in disturbances in Venezuela". She said she has been able to reach them, except for those in Caracas, despite Maduro's efforts to tamp down on social media and other forms of communication.

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