Venezuela's Tiananmen: Camera Catches Armored Military Vehicle Plowing into Protesters
News outlets broadcasting live from Caracas on Tuesday recorded graphic footage of an armored vehicle in control of forces loyal to socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro running over peaceful protesters called together by President Juan Guaidó to support soldiers who no longer answer to Maduro.
Guaidó posted a video early Tuesday morning from the La Carlota military base near Caracas announcing that the leadership of the nation’s armed forces no longer supported Maduro, but they would need civilians to travel to their nearest military headquarters and support them as they ousted the few Maduro loyalists left.
In response, the streets of Caracas – and the gates of La Carlota – flooded with Venezuelans waving their flags and soldiers sporting a blue band on their arms, their rejection of the socialist dictatorship’s red authority.
In the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas, civilians organized to support Guaidó. Before he arrived to deliver a speech to the crowd, however, Maduro loyalists in the military and colectivos – armed socialist thug gangs – arrived to attack the protesters. Soldiers shot tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowd. In the incident caught on video, they drove their armored vehicles over the protesters.
According to the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, at least one protester was significantly injured in the incident and currently receiving medical attention. The extent of the injury remains unknown at press time.
Warning: Graphic Video
🔴 Un vehículo militar atropella a varias personas donde se concentran decenas de opositores en Caracas, en Venezuela.
— 24h (@24h_tve) April 30, 2019
In Chacao, another neighborhood of Caracas, El Nacionalreported the liberal use of tear gas on the part of Maduro loyalists to disperse crowds of civilians. As the chaos is ongoing, there are not at press time available injury confirmations or casualty tolls.
Some soldiers reportedly heeded Guaidó’s call to disobey orders from Maduro, however. The Cuban Observatory for Human Rights, an NGO that documents regime abuses on the island, shared a video showing soldiers sent to repress protesters refusing to follow their regime’s orders.
🎥 Tanquetas se retiran de la concentración de ciudadanos en Alta Vista, Puerto Ordaz. Militares se habrían negado a reprimir a quienes apoyan a @jguaido en esta zona del país #OperacionLibertad#Venezuela vía @CarlosSuniagaGpic.twitter.com/Sl8M6zI3RD
— ObservatorioCubanoDH (@observacuba) April 30, 2019
Guaidó, who became the country’s legitimate commander in chief in January, announced on Monday that his movement had finally convinced the country’s military leadership to stop taking orders from Maduro, who the nation’s legislature declared illegitimate after a fraudulent election in May. As Maduro would be “inaugurated” for another term in January, the lawmakers chose that month to swear in Guaidó instead.
“We make a plea to government employees … our brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men attached to the constitution, have heeded our call today,” he said, suggesting all Venezuelans turn to the military installation nearest them to support soldiers against Maduro there.
Maduro has not made any public pronouncement at press time outside of his remarks on Twitter. There, the dictator claimed that Guaidó was lying and that no soldiers had turned on him.
“Nerves of steel! I have spoken to the commanders of all the [armed forces] of the country, who have manifested their total loyalty to the People, the Constitution, and the Nation,” Maduro wrote. “I call for the maximum popular mobilization to ensure the victory of Peace. We will triumph!”