Military truck runs over protesters in Venezuela; Trump threatens Cuban embargo if its troops don’t quit
The streets of Caracas, Venezuela have turned into chaos Tuesday after a military vehicle drove directly into a crowd of protesters.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening a blockade of Cuba if the country’s troops don’t “cease military and other operations” which he said are being carried out “for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela.”
A Venezuelan National Guard vehicle was caught on video running over anti-Maduro protesters outside a military base in Caracas, who were throwing stones and hitting vehicles with sticks after opposition leader Juan Guaido called on members of the military to rise up.
Whether any injuries resulted from the incident is unknown.
After the vehicle drove into the crowd it appeared some protesters retaliated and threw a molotov cocktail, causing the back of the vehicle to briefly burst into flames.
Guaido is calling for a military uprising to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido, in a video posted on Twitter earlier on Tuesday, said he had begun the “final phase” of his campaign to topple Maduro, calling on Venezuelans and the military to back him.
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the U.S. would impose an embargo on Cuba if its troops and militia didn’t cease, immediately, military and other operations in the country.
He promised that an embargo, along with “highest-level sanctions” would be imposed on the country.
The UN urged both sides to use “maximum restraint” Tuesday, in order to “avoid any violence and take immediate steps to restore calm.”
Gunshots were also heard at Guaido’s rally. Several dozen armed troops accompanying Guaido clashed with soldiers supporting Maduro at a rally outside the La Carlota air base in Caracas, but the incident fizzled out and did not appear to be part of an immediate attempt by the opposition to take power through military force.
Maduro said on Tuesday he had spoken with military leaders and that they had shown him “their total loyalty.”
“Nerves of steel!” Maduro wrote on Twitter. “I call for maximum popular mobilization to assure the victory of peace. We will win!”
WATCH: Venezuelan government downplays results of ongoing coup attempt
U.S. officials have issued statements of support for Guaido, who they recognize as the country’s legitimate leader, though Maduro controls government agencies.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on Tuesday called an emergency meeting via video conference of the Lima Group — of which Venezuela is a part — in response to the volatility. Freeland called for a swift end to the violence.
WATCH: Canada calls emergency meeting of Lima Group amid Venezuela crisis
“Venezuelans are in the streets today demonstrating their desire for a return to democracy, even in the face of a violent crackdown,” said Freeland. “Canada commends their courage and we call on the Maduro regime to step aside now, and allow for a peaceful end to this process in line with the Venezuelan constitution.”
— With files from Reuters
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