Venezuela’s Juan Guaido declares ‘final phase’ of operation to topple Maduro

Attempts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro appear to be reaching a climax, after the country’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó made a play for support from the nation’s military and announced “the start of the end of the usurpation.”

Speaking in a dawn address flanked by men in military attire and armored vehicles, Guaidó made his boldest attempt yet to involve the military in the removal of the Venezuelan president.

He later tweeted: “The people of Venezuela initiated the end of the usurpation. At this moment I am meeting with the main military units of our Armed Forces, beginning the final phase of Operation Freedom.”

In the video, broadcast on Guaidó’s Twitter account, another key opposition figure — Leopoldo Lopez, who is currently under house arrest — appeared to be present. It was unclear how Lopez had evaded custody to appear in the video, which Guaidó said was filmed at a military airbase, La Carlota.

Guaidó called for a day of nationwide protests on May 1, and said his address marked the start of that protest movement.

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