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News > Latin America

Henrique Capriles Says Military Uprising in Venezuela Possible

  •  A man holds a poster of Henrique Capriles in protest of Maduro's election as president, April 2013.

    A man holds a poster of Henrique Capriles in protest of Maduro's election as president, April 2013. | Photo: EFE

Published 20 May 2016

Henrique Capriles said the opposition doesn't want to see a military coup, but the opposition has repeatedly made appeals to rank-and-file soldiers.

Venezuelan opposition figure Henrique Capriles once again insinuated that the Venezuelan armed forces should rebel and mount a coup against the government of democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro.

Capriles told BBC World in an interview published Friday that a military uprising was a distinct possibility and that a military would need to decide if they are “with the Constitution or with Maduro.”

Venezuelan Opposition Desperately Moves to Overthrow Government

Capriles appeared to be most concerned about Maduro's threat to seize shuttered factories in order to increase production and help reduce the scarcity of basic products.

“If Maduro orders the (Armed Forces) to take a factory by force, the Armed Forces will have to decide whether they support Maduro or (the Constitution),” Capriles told BBC World.

The State of Exception decreed by Maduro, and ratified by the Supreme Court, grants the president extraordinary powers to address the ongoing economic crisis.

Capriles claimed the opposition does not want to see a military coup yet has repeatedly made appeals to rank-and-file soldiers.

Who's the Man Asking the Military to Upend Venezuela Democracy?

His most recent comments echo earlier statements where he called on the military to “prepare the tanks and warplanes.”

Capriles was twice defeated by socialist candidates in presidential elections. Following his 2013 election loss to Maduro, Capriles refused to recognize the results and called on supporters to take to the streets and "discharge your anger." In the ensuing violence, at least 7 people were killed and 61 injured.

Capriles, along with other opposition figures, are also pushing for the ouster of Maduro via a recall referendum and have demanded that electoral authorities organize the referndum as soon as possible.

At a recent rally to demand that electoral authorities speed up the process, anti-government protestors violently attacked a policewoman, who was rescued by a photographer.

Maduro has reiterated that the opposition has the right to call for the referendum, but he has also emphasized that they have to follow the correct procedures.

His opponents have accused electoral authorities of stalling the process. Maduro has questioned why the opposition failed to submit the request for a recall referendum sooner, arguing that it should have been done as early as January if they wanted to ensure that the vote could happen this year.

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