Maduro, who recently backed down from a bid to usurp supreme power after a Supreme Court decision left the local Congress powerless, only to reverse itself following furious blowback even from his own party, has faced violent protests over recent moves to tighten his grip on power, and ordered the military to defend the leftist “Bolivarian revolution” launched by his late mentor Hugo Chavez in 1999.
“From the first reveille (on Monday morning), from the first rooster crow, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces will be in the streets… saying, ‘Long live the Bolivarian revolution,'” Maduro said Sunday night in a televised address. State TV showed images of army units marching in the streets of Caracas as Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino watched although there was no sign of soldiers on patrol Monday morning in the capital.
As noted previously, Venezuela has been rocked by two weeks of unrest since Maduro’s camp moved to consolidate its control with a Supreme Court decision quashing the power of the opposition-majority legislature. The court partly backtracked after an international outcry, but tensions only rose further when authorities slapped a political ban on opposition leader Henrique Capriles.