Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has praised the country’s National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) for remaining loyal to him in the face of so-called Operation Freedom staged by opposition leader Juan Guaido earlier this week to force out his government.
In a series of tweets, Maduro noted that Venezuelan troops are “perfectly trained, prepared and united”:
“We are not a weak or helpless country, we have a military power that guarantees peace and national defence. Always Loyal, Never Traitors!” he tweeted.
Venezuela cuenta con una #FANB, perfectamente adiestrada, entrenada, preparada y cohesionada. No somos un país débil, ni desvalido, tenemos un poder militar que garantiza la paz y la defensa nacional. ¡Leales Siempre, Traidores Nunca! pic.twitter.com/GztOhMmJWP— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) 4 мая 2019 г.
Venezuela’s embattled president earlier sent a message to a “handful of traitors” who sold out to the “interests of the United States”, saying that they would not “stain the military honour of the Fatherland”.
“Our #FANB is deeply committed to the protection of the people, the defence of national sovereignty and the Constitution…” Maduro tweeted.
Un puñado de traidores que se venden a los intereses de los EE.UU, no manchará el honor militar de la Patria. Nuestra #FANB está profundamente comprometida con la protección del pueblo, la defensa de la soberanía nacional y la Constitución; es una institución de moral y luces. pic.twitter.com/n8ODT4g9y5— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) 4 мая 2019 г.
He has repeatedly called on the military to be “ready” to defend the country with “weapons in hand” in case the United States launches an offensive on Venezuelan soil. The comments were made shortly after Guaido released a video in which he encouraged civilians and soldiers to join his coup, claiming that he had the support of the armed forces.
His comments were echoed by the country’s Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who stressed that the Venezuelan armed forces were loyal to the constitution and legitimate authorities.
Earlier in the day, Guaido acknowledged that the opposition had miscalculated its backing in the military, saying that they had expected Maduro to step down in the face of a growing number of defectors.
But, as he noted in an interview with The Washington Post, his call on the armed forces to turn their backs on Maduro failed:
“Maybe because we still need more soldiers, and maybe we need more officials of the regime to be willing to support it, to back the constitution. I think the variables are obvious at this point”.
At the same time, Guaido welcomed the “great news” about recent discussions in the US of military options to break the impasse.
His efforts were doomed, as only a handful of military servicemen joined his attempted coup, with Maduro declaring the uprising a failure.
Guaido is backed by the United States, several regional countries and Western states, while many others, including Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran have insist that Maduro is the only legitimately elected president of Venezuela.