Violent anti-government protests have been reported in Caracas on Tuesday, April 30, following opposition leader Juan Guaidó's call for a military uprising in the country to oust embattled President Nicolás Maduro. The demonstrations come after Guaidó held a rally with soldiers and now-released opposition politician Leopoldo López, who had been under house arrest after organizing anti-government protests in 2014, at Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda (La Carlota) air base earlier on Tuesday. Clashes were reported between pro- and anti-Maduro armed forces outside the air base but later subsided without significant escalation or suggestion of a broader push to unseat Maduro. The extent to which members of the military have switched their allegiance to support Guaidó remains unclear.
Tens of thousands of Guaidó supporters marched in Caracas on Tuesday, with protesters clashing with security forces on Francisco Fajardo Freeway. Notably, an armored vehicle from the National Guard rammed into protesters who were throwing stones in its direction; the number of associated casualties was not immediately reported. More broadly, at least 52 people have been wounded amid the ongoing protests. Access to the internet and various media channels was restricted in Venezuela on Tuesday following Guaidó's call for a military uprising. It remains unclear when normal internet and telecommunications access will resume. US diplomatic authorities have reported that the situation on the ground remains fluid and "confused."
Meanwhile, Guaidó has called for additional large anti-government protests in Venezuela on Wednesday, May 1. Protesters are slated to gather at several locations across Caracas; demonstrators may march on the Miraflores presidential palace in the capital. Heightened security measures, as well as transportation and business disruptions, are to be expected in areas affected by protest activity on May 1. Clashes between anti-government protesters and pro-Maduro security forces are likely around demonstration sites.
Venezuela is experiencing an ongoing crisis spurred by President Nicolás Maduro's inauguration to a second term as president on January 10 following last year's contested election, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. At least 50 foreign governments, including the US, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim head of state.
Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor developments to the situation, adhere to instructions issued by their home governments, keep battery-operated devices fully charged whenever possible due to periodic power outages, remain vigilant for criminal behavior and avoid conspicuous displays of wealth, refrain from discussing political topics in public or on social media, and avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest.
The security situation in Venezuela remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Copyright and Disclaimer