Nicolas Maduro remains in power Friday, after opposition leader Juan Guaido’s failure to inspire mass military defections earlier in the week.
There were no immediate reports of violence in the capital, Caracas, Friday after several days of unrest and a call Thursday by Guaido for the start of staggered industrial action leading to a general strike.
Maduro has clung to power, calling on the country’s armed forces to oppose “any coup plotter” after Guaido failed to win defections from military leaders. At a televised event Thursday with the military high command, the embattled Maduro urged the military to “(K)eep morale high in this fight to disarm any traitor, any coup plotter.”
Guaido, the National Assembly leader, declared himself the country’s interim president in January. He has been recognized by the United States and about 50 other countries as the legitimate leader of the South American nation, but he has not been able to nudge the Venezuela’s socialist president from office.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to intervene militarily in Venezuela.
“If that is what is required, this is what the United States will do,” Pompeo said.
But Pompeo and Trump have not specified what would prompt the U.S. to send troops to Venezuela.
Millions of Venezuelans — exhausted by out-of-control inflation, severe food and fuel shortages, a lack of medical care, and periodic blackouts — have fled the country. As head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Guaido used the constitution to declare Maduro’s presidency illegitimate, saying Maduro’s election in December was a fraud.
Maduro has accused Guaido of trying to carry out a U.S.- and Colombian-supported coup and says the opposition will fail.
He said demonstrators will be prosecuted “for the serious crimes that have been committed against the constitution, the rule of law and the right to peace.”
Wednesday’s confrontations between opposition supporters and Venezuelan troops ended with one woman dead after she was shot in the head during a protest in the capital.