Venezuela's Guaido declares himself president, Maduro under pressure

Venezuelan soldiers call for coup against Maduro before being arrested

Protesters later burned trash and a auto outside the outpost, where the 25 officers were arrested, in a sign of growing tensions following Maduro's inauguration to a second term that governments around the world have called illegitimate.

The suspects had posted videos online saying they won't recognize Maduro's government and that they were acting on behalf of the Venezuelan people. The National Assembly also encouraged foreign governments to increase pressure on Maduro's regime.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with his wife, Cilia Flores.

Juan Guaido, president of congress, shrugged off the court's warning and reiterated his call for people to take to the streets Wednesday - a historic date commemorating the end of Venezuela's military dictatorship in 1958 - to demand Maduro abandon power.

According to the Venezuelan Constitution, the presidency would then go to the head of the National Assembly, a man named Juan Guaido.

"Venezuela's government said Monday it put down a mutiny by a National Guard unit in a poor neighborhood a few miles (kilometers) from Venezuela's presidential palace", writes the Associated Press.

Jorge Rodriguez said the mutinous soldiers had confessed to handing out some of the weapons they stole on Monday from a command depot to opposition activists "so they can carry out acts of violence, (cause) injuries and deaths during the protest".

US Vice President Mike Pence issued a message of support Tuesday to Venezuelans planning to join the marches.

Venezuelan opposition sympathizers had been urging Guaido to assume the presidency since Maduro was inaugurated to a second term on January 10 following a widely boycotted election previous year that the United States and many other foreign governments described as a fraudulent.

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Former government strongholds in the Venezuelan capital have erupted in protest against the calamitous rule of President Maduro.

"Maduro is completely isolated from Venezuelans, from the global community and something that has started to happen, he is going isolated by the armed forces which is the only piece of the puzzle that we need to start the transition in Venezuela", Smolansky added.

"A small group of soldiers were arrested who betrayed their oath of allegiance to the homeland", said a statement published on Twitter accounts of Television of Venezuela and the Ministry of Popular Power for Defense.

"Do you want to be a country colonized by the gringos?" he asked the crowd of several hundred seated before him.

"The police were shooting and there was tear gas everywhere".

Guaido previously accused Maduro of being a usurper after the socialist leader was sworn in for a second term of office on January 10, and called for the armed forces to support the legislature in restoring democracy in the country.

Maduro won elections in May that were boycotted by the opposition and dismissed as a fraud by the European Union, United States and Organization of American States.

In 2016 he lost control of the National Assembly, enabling the opposition to challenge his leadership, but the loyalist-dominated Supreme Court stripped the legislature of its powers in 2017.

In the Chacao district of eastern Caracas, a traditional opposition bastion, a dozen protesters spoke of a renewed confidence in dislodging Maduro and predicted a new wave of demonstrations.

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