CARACAS-- Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly (ANC) President Diosdado Cabello called on the Venezuelan people to "defend" the government of President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday before the alleged coup occurred earlier.
"We invite all the people of Caracas, come to the Miraflores Palace (seat of government) immediately," said Cabello. Speaking to the television station VTV, Cabello said that from the "first hour" of Tuesday, President Maduro was checking and reviewing everything that had happened.
"We are already taking corresponding actions. They are fully identified. There are the same coup leaders as always, those who do not respect the rules of democracy," Cabello said.
Local media showed through YouTube images of opposition leader Juan Guaido outside the aviation military base La Carlota, located in Altamira in the east of Caracas.
He called on civilians and military to act against the government and urged Maduro to step down.
Around three hours after his announcement, there was no sign of any other military activity.
Security forces earlier had fired tear gas at Guaido as hundreds of civilians had joined the group, Reuters quoted witnesses as saying.
Venezuela President Nicolas
Maduro said on Tuesday he had spoken with military leaders and they had shown him "their total loyalty," after opposition leader Juan Guaido said he had the support of troops to oust Maduro.
"Nerves of steel!," Maduro said on Twitter. "I call for maximum popular mobilization to assure the victory of peace. We will win!"
"We reject this coup movement, which aims to fill the country with violence," said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.
He said the armed forces remained "firmly in defense of the national constitution and legitimate authorities," and that all military units across Venezuela "report normality" in their barracks and bases.
The move was Guaido's boldest effort yet to convince the military to rise up against Maduro. If it fails, it could be seen as evidence that he lacks the support he says he has. It might also encourage the authorities, which have already stripped him of parliamentary immunity and opened multiple investigations into him, to arrest him.
U.S. President Donald Trump "has been briefed and is monitoring the ongoing situation," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. The White House declined comment on whether the administration had been consulted or had advance knowledge of what Guaido was planning. Xinhua/Reuters