Key events leading toward uprising in Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, accompanied by civilian protesters and a small contingent of heavily armed troops, called Tuesday for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolás Maduro. Here’s a timeline of recent events leading up to that revolt:
February 2014 — Opposition leader Leopoldo López is jailed after turning himself in to authorities on charges including terrorism and incitement to riot. He is later transferred to house arrest.
Jan. 5, 2019 — Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress installs 35-year-old Juan Guaidó as president of the legislature. Guaidó calls President Nicolás Maduro a dictator.
Jan. 10 — Maduro is sworn in for a second term as president, but most Latin American countries, the United States and Canada denounce his government as illegitimate, arguing his re-election was a farce.
Jan. 15 — Opposition lawmakers try to pry the military’s loyalty away from Maduro, offering protection to members of the armed forces who support a transitional government.
Jan. 21 — Security forces put down a pre-dawn uprising by national guardsmen that triggered violent street protests. Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello says at least 27 guardsmen were arrested.
Jan. 23 — Guaidó declares himself interim president before thousands of cheering supporters. The U.S. recognizes him as president and dozens of nations including Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia follow suit.
Jan. 28 — The Trump administration sanctions Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, cutting off one of Maduro’s most important sources of income and foreign currency along with around $7 billion in assets of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA. National Security Adviser John Bolton warns that any move by Maduro against Guaido “will be met with a significant response.”
Feb. 4 — More than a dozen European Union countries endorse Guaidó as the country’s interim president.
Feb. 22 — Defying orders banning him from leaving Venezuela, Guaidó appears at a star-studded aid concert in neighboring Colombia, joining thousands of other Venezuelans in pressuring Maduro to allow the delivery of U.S.-backed emergency food and medicine convoys.
Feb. 23 — Venezuelan security forces fire tear gas on protesters trying to deliver aid from Colombia and Brazil, leaving two people dead and some 300 injured. Troops block bridges to prevent the convoys.
March 7 — Much of Venezuela plunges into darkness for several days during the nation’s largest-ever blackout.
March 12 — The United States says it is withdrawing its last diplomats still in Caracas
March 13 — Widespread looting is reported during blackouts in Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second-largest city.
March 18 — Colombia says about 1,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces have fled to Colombia since February, giving up weapons and uniforms as they abandon Maduro’s government.
March 21 — Intelligence agents detain Guaidó’s top aide.
March 25 — A new power outage spreads across much of Venezuela, knocking communications offline and stirring fears of a repeat of the chaos.
March 27 — Russia’s Foreign Ministry says that Russian military personnel have arrived in Venezuela to support Maduro.
March 29 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says it will start distributing assistance to an estimated 650,000 people in Venezuela — an action permitted by Maduro’s government.
April 2 — A specially formed constitutional assembly loyal to Maduro strips Guaidó of parliamentary immunity, paving the way for possible prosecution for allegedly violating the constitution by declaring himself interim president.
April 30 — Guaidó takes to the streets with activist López and a small contingent of heavily armed troops in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust Maduro.