Venezuela's Maduro thanks military for overcoming 'coup'
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Venezuela's Maduro thanks military for overcoming 'coup'

Speaking outside the presidential palace in the capital Caracas on Saturday, Maduro praised Venezuela’s armed forces for staying put and referred to Guaido as "a clown and a puppet" of the United States. "They invited the armed forces to carry out a military coup and their reply was clear - they have defeated the coup plotters," he said. Maduro also said "cyber attacks" are behind Venezuela's crippling power cuts, insisting that the blackout is part of a plan to topple him with "the support and assistance of the US.” He said the massive blackout that has affected the country since Thursday was caused by "high-level technology that only the United States government has." Maduro said almost 70 percent of power had been restored, but a new attack at one of the generators that was working perfectly "disturbed and undid everything we had achieved." He spoke as the Venezuelan capital became the scene of widespread protests by pro-government and opposition groups, with reports of clashes between some of Guaido’s supporters and riot police. Addressing a rally, the 35-year-old opposition leader announced that he would embark on a tour of the country and call on all his supporters to attend a mass protest in Caracas "very soon.” "Once we've finished the tour, the organization in every state, we'll announce the date when all together we'll come to Caracas," Guaido said. "We are going to come, all of Venezuela to Caracas, because we need all of them united." Accusing Maduro’s government of “inefficiency” over the power cut, Guiado has so far taken advantage of the crisis and called on his supporters to take to the streets against the president. Venezuela has been in political turmoil over the past weeks, with the US-backed opposition holding widespread anti-government protests and blaming Maduro for an ailing economy, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items. Guaido plunged the country into political chaos on January 23 when he proclaimed himself the “interim president” in a bizarre move that nevertheless won US President Donald Trump’s immediate recognition. Canada, a number of right-leaning Latin American countries and several European Union member states have followed suit but other countries such as Russia, China, Turkey and Iran have stood by Maduro. US officials have recently hinted at a military intervention, with hawkish national security adviser John Bolton going as far as warning Venezuelan officers to join Guaido and take his “amnesty” before they lose the chance.

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