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Armed Forces Signal Support For Maduro 

Source: Wall Street Journal

January 25 2019


Leaders in the Venezuelan military are maintaining public support for President Nicolas Maduro after the U.S. and other regional leaders said they recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's legitimate president, reports the Wall Street Journal

On Thursday, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, accompanied by military leaders, said in a televised speech that the armed forces would oppose any effort to remove Maduro. 

Padrino's comments came a day after Guaido held a rally in which he declared himself interim president after Maduro formally began a second presidential term earlier this month following elections last year that were widely regarded as fraudulent. 

The move was recognized by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and the U.S. 

Critics of the Maduro government hope that public support for an alternative leader may sway members of the military to back the opposition. 

Maduro has carefully cultivated support among the military, especially the upper cadres. In a speech on Wednesday, Maduro praised the military and their loyalty. 

Analysts note that while senior officers continue to live well, the lower ranks are suffering from the economic collapse. An estimated 4,000 troops have deserted in the last year with many more seeking formal discharges. 

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