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Venezuela erupts after opposition leader calls for uprising to topple President Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuelan authorities say they are putting down a small coup attempt after opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced he was in the "final phase" of ending President Nicolás Maduro's rule.

He appeared in a video with uniformed men, saying he had military support. Tensions escalated in Venezuela Tuesday after the country's U.S.-backed opposition leader and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó called for the military to topple the leftist government of Nicolás Maduro.

Early in the morning, Guaidó -- standing alongside a group of soldiers and previously jailed fellow opposition leader Leopoldo López -- called on the Venezuelan armed forces to stage an uprising and carry out what he dubbed "Operación Libertad," or operation freedom. Venezuela's socialist government, meanwhile, called the move by the opposition leader a "coup" sponsored by the U.S., with one of its most highest-ranking officials and speaker of the pro-Maduro legislature, Diosdado Cabello, urging supporters to come out and defend the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.

Clashes in the capital and other parts of the country ensued between civilians and soldiers supportive of Guaidó and Maduro's security forces and pro-government militias, known as "colectivos." Protesters supporting both sides have gathered at different points in the capital, Caracas.

There are running clashes between Mr Guaidó's supporters and armed military vehicles. Protesters were also seen throwing rocks, but being repelled by tear gas and water cannon.

What is the international community saying?

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed for both sides to avoid violence.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a tweet backing Mr Guaidó. "The U.S. Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy," he wrote.
  • Colombian President Iván Duque called on the Venezuelan army to back Mr Guaidó.

  • Bolivia's President Evo Morales and Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez have sent messages of support to their ally Mr Maduro, condemning what they called the "coup d'etat" in Venezuela.

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