Source: The Nation
Caracas—It began with a tweet.
In it, Venezuela’s self-declared president, Juan Guaidó, stands in front of a line of military vehicles and rows of Venezuelan soldiers in green uniforms. Beside them is opposition leader Leopoldo López, whom they have freed from house arrest, which stemmed from his role in the 2014 guarimba street protests in which dozens of people were killed.
Guaidó, dressed in a black suit and a white shirt, talks to the camera. “Today, the armed forces are clearly with the people,” he says. “The time is now.” He calls on the military to rise up and says they are in the streets. He insinuates that they have taken the Carlota military base in eastern Caracas.
My phone rings and then rings again.
“It looks like there was a coup,” says a friend’s voice. That is what people are thinking across the city. It’s just after 6 a.m., and the sky is still orange from dawn. Neighbors bang pots and pans, the sound rattling through the open window. School is canceled, and the metro is closed. Supporters of President Nicolás Maduro get the word that people are being called to defend Miraflores, the presidential palace, from a potential attack. They begin to make the trek across the city, some by foot, others by bus or car.
A stream of Guaidó supporters flows toward the opposition stronghold of Altamira and the Carlota base, just a few blocks away. But it’s clear that Guaidó has not taken the base; his video was recorded from an overpass nearby.