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Venezuela’s Maduro Jogs with Military at Dawn: ‘Time Has Come to Fight’

In this photo released to the media by the Miraflores presidential palace press office, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro jogs ahead of soldiers during a visit last month to Carabobo State. (Marcelo Garcia/Miraflores presidential palace press office via AP)
Marcelo Garcia/Miraflores presidential palace press office via AP
BEN KEW

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro told his military on Thursday that the “time has come to fight” against the U.S.-backed opposition, days after opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced the desertion of various military personnel from the regime.

Addressing soldiers at the National Armed Forces Military Academy in Fort Tiuna, the socialist dictator insisted he retains the widespread support of his armed forces, despite the partial military uprising against him.

“Soldiers of the country, the time has come to fight and set the example before the world by defeating attempted coup plotters who sell themselves to Washington dollars,” he declared. “To say that in Venezuela there is a loyal and cohesive armed force like never before.” Maduro continued:

No one can be afraid, it is time to defend the right to peace. I told the people yesterday, too, the path that the coup leaders propose: a civil war? Machine gun versus machine gun? Tank against tank? That we kill ourselves as brothers? Is that the alternative they propose to Venezuela? Assaulting political power and ignoring the Constitution? No, this cannot be our path.

Maduro’s battle cry comes two days after President Juan Guaidó announced that sections of the military had decided to break ranks with the regime and recognize him as commader in chief. Guaidó then called for mass protests across the country in the hope of ousting Maduro.

Maduro denied on Wednesday that the military had abandoned him and blamed the events on the “Gringo Empire.”

“We have been facing various modes of aggression and coups d’état like has never before seen in the history of Venezuela,” he said, in a speech flanked by his top military commanders, while blaming the “Venezuelan far right, the Colombian oligarchy from Bogotá, and American imperialism” for the uprising.

According to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Maduro was prepared to step down and get on a flight to Cuba until the Russian government urged him to stay and fight on.

“Wolf, we’ve watched throughout the day, it’s been a long time since anyone has seen Maduro,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “He had an airplane on the tarmac. He was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it, and the Russians indicated he should stay. Pompeo later added, “He was headed for Havana.”

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

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