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News > Latin America

Venezuela Opposition Leader Calls for 1950s-Style Military Coup

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with the National Bolivarian Armed Forces.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. | Photo: AFP

Published 20 January 2017

Jose Manuel Olivares is calling on the country's armed forces to overthrow democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro.

For most Venezuelans, the 1950s is an era they prefer to leave in the dustbin of history — poverty was rampant and basic human rights were non-existent.

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But for opposition leader Jose Manuel Olivares, the 1950s serves as an example of what Venezuela should be like today.

Olivares, a member of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, is calling on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) to oust democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro in order to “resolve differences,” El Nacional reports. He claimed they should follow the example of a 1958 military coup that removed then-president Marcos Perez Jimenez from power.

“We ask the FANB today to follow the example of the military that in 1958 asked for elections,” he said during a press conference on Friday. 

“On January 23, 1958, the sabers of dignity were sounded, calling for respect for the Constitution.”

Olivares is a member of the United States-backed, right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable, MUD, an electoral coalition of political parties in opposition to the Bolivarian Revolution. On Monday, the MUD is planning a protest in Caracas against Maduro’s administration, on the occasion of the 59th anniversary of the aforementioned coup.

Fellow MUD member and National Assembly President Julio Borges also called on the FANB to take action against the popularly-supported socialist government.

“Brothers in uniform of the FANB, the challenge is simple. Do you want to be the heirs, worthy of the Liberator [Simon Bolivar], or be remembered as the guardians of Nicolas Maduro?”

But not all Venezuelans support forced regime change.

“It is very important that the dialogue works, because it is the best option for our country to work correctly,” 53-year-old Julio Montalban told teleSUR correspondent Reagan Des Vignes, referencing the ongoing peace talks between government and opposition leaders moderated by the Vatican. Montalban said the talks aren’t working “mostly because of the opposition.”

“They don't want to talk. They don't want to do anything.”

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Sixty-two-year-old Carmen Trinidad Hernandez shared similar sentiments, adding that she wants an end to violent approaches toward resolving political differences.

“All I want is the insecurity to end, because we are afraid to get out in the streets,” Hernandez also told teleSUR.

Supporters of Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution are expected to hold peaceful counter-demonstrations on Monday against the MUD protests.

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