Venezuela: 5 days of turmoil

2019-01-26 07:25
Anti-government protesters create a burning roadblock in the Cotiza neighbourhood of Caracas, Venezuela. (Fernando Llano, AP)

Anti-government protesters create a burning roadblock in the Cotiza neighbourhood of Caracas, Venezuela. (Fernando Llano, AP)

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Here are key developments in Venezuela since a band of soldiers briefly rose up against President Nicolas Maduro on January 21, with an opposition leader declaring himself "acting president" days later.

January 21: Brief uprising

A group of soldiers take control of a command post north of Caracas in the early hours. In a video on social media, they say they "completely repudiate" Maduro's regime and call on people to take to the streets in their support.

The uprising is quickly put down and 27 of the rogue soldiers are arrested.

There are demonstrations of support in a number of Caracas neighbourhoods.

READ: How did Venezuela end up with 2 presidents? 3 things you need to know

The Supreme Court, dominated by loyalists to Maduro is his standoff with the opposition, takes aim at the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declaring its leadership illegitimate and its decisions invalid.

The National Assembly promises an amnesty to all members of the military who abandon Maduro.

January 22: US backs opposition

US Vice President Mike Pence gives his support to Venezuela's opposition on the eve of planned protest marches.

He calls Maduro a "dictator" and backs the National Assembly's "call for the establishment of a transition government."

In a radio and TV broadcast, Maduro accuses Washington of ordering "a coup from the fascist state."

January 23: Self-proclaimed 'acting president'

Tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets of Caracas and other cities in rival demonstrations for and against Maduro. Clashes erupt.

In front of cheering supporters in the capital, National Assembly head Juan Guaido proclaims himself "acting president." He pledges to install a transitional government and hold free elections.

President Donald Trump immediately issues a statement recognizing Guaido. The United States is among countries that dismiss as fraudulent the opposition-boycotted May 2018 election that handed Maduro a second term, and dismiss him as illegitimate.

Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Peru and other countries also give their backing to the opposition leader.

However Bolivia, China, Cuba, Russia and Turkey say they still support Maduro.

Maduro says he is cutting off diplomatic ties with Washington, which responds that he does not have this authority.

January 24: Army loyal to Maduro

Venezuela's powerful military high command throws its weight behind Maduro. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, a general, accuses Guaido of attempting a "coup d'etat" and says Maduro is "the legitimate president".

The United States calls for a UN Security Council meeting Saturday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fails to get unanimous backing at a special meeting of the Organization of American States for recognition of Guaido.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses "support for the legitimate authorities of Venezuela in the context of a domestic political crisis that has been provoked from the outside".

The United States orders its non-emergency embassy staff to leave Venezuela.

Guaido, in a Skype interview with Univision from a secret location, calls on Venezuelans to continue their demonstrations against Maduro. He says he does not rule out including Maduro in an amnesty.

Unrest since the soldiers' rebellion has left 26 people dead, according to Caracas-based rights group the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict.

January 25: Call for presidential vote

The UN says more than 350 demonstrators have been arrested over the week.

France says new presidential elections should be held quickly; Spain pushes the European Union to recognise Guaido if elections are not called rapidly.

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