TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that the country’s troops have thwarted a botched coup attempt to topple him masterminded by Washington and pro-US opposition.
Maduro and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, during a live broadcast on Tuesday night accused the pro-US opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his political mentor Leopoldo López of seeking to spark an armed confrontation that might be used as a pretext for a foreign military intervention, according to the Guardian.
However, “loyal and obedient” members of Venezuela’s Bolivarian armed forces had put down the mutiny within hours of it starting shortly after 4am, Maduro said, in direct contradiction to Guaidó’s earlier remark that the president no longer had military backing. By noon there only remained a small group of plotters who had chosen “the path of betrayal … [and] handed their souls over to the coup-mongering far right”.
“They failed in their plan. They failed in their call, because the people of Venezuela want peace,” Maduro said, surrounded by Venezuela’s military and political elite. “We will continue to emerge victorious … in the months and years ahead. I have no doubt about it.”
Maduro said the plotters would “not go unpunished” and said they would face criminal prosecutions “for the serious crimes that have been committed against the constitution, the rule of law and the right to peace”.
The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also refuted the statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he’d almost escaped to Cuba, but that Russians had talked him out of it, according to RT reported.
Responding to that, Moscow called it ‘fake news.’
“Mike Pompeo said that I, Maduro, had a plane ready to go to Cuba, to flee and that the Russians got him off the plane and forbade him to leave the country. Mr Pompeo, please, what lack of seriousness,” Maduro said, during a nationwide address announcing the “defeat” of the failed coup attempt.
At the height of civil unrest on Tuesday, Pompeo appeared on CNN claiming Maduro had “an airplane on the tarmac” all set to leave for Cuba, before the “Russians indicated he should stay.”
Both Russian and Venezuelan foreign ministries pilloried the American for peddling what they called ‘fake news.’
“Making up fake news is a very sad way to accept that the coup you backed has failed… once again. Diplomacy has to be restored in the US Government,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted.
“Washington tried its best to demoralize the Venezuelan army and now used fakes as a part of an information war,”Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement to CNN.
The violence in Caracas erupted on Tuesday morning, after US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, flanked by a few dozen men in military uniform, released a short video calling on the army to rise up and oust Maduro from power.