Juan Guaido’s Operation Freedom entered another day as Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro ridiculed claims he had planned to flee to Cuba after the opposition leader’s dawn call on Tuesday for a military uprising.
Like past attempts to oust Mr Maduro, the opposition seemed outmanoeuvred again as security forces using repressive tactics to crush small pockets of stone-throwing youths.
Millions of Venezuelans watched the drama unfold with a mix of fear and exasperation.
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) May 1, 2019
Mr Guaido started Wednesday with a tweet listing assembly spots, saying: “Good day, today we continue, here are the points where we are concentrating today in Caracas. We are continuing with more strength than ever Venezuela.”
On Tuesday the opposition’s hoped-for split in the military did not emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Mr Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government’s bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy.
Mr Guaido, the telegenic 35-year-old leader of the opposition-dominated congress who is recognised by the US and over 50 nations as Venezuela’s rightful president, nonetheless pressed forward in calling for a new round of mass street protests.
Opposition forces are hoping that Venezuelans angered by broadcast images of armoured vehicles ploughing into protesters and fed up with their nation’s dire humanitarian crisis will fill streets across the nation.
In one blow to Mr Maduro, the head of Venezuela’s feared intelligence agency announced that he was breaking ranks with the embattled socialist leader.
“We need to keep up the pressure,” Mr Guaido said.
“We will be in the streets.”