25 Venezuelan troops seek asylum in Brazil embassy

The clashes of April 30 followed weeks of tension in Venezuela.
AFP | 3 May 2019

Transnational Threats

“Down with tyranny” reads the sign of a protester at a mass rally in Caracas, after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called on Venezuelans, civilians and military, to protest the regime of Nicolás Maduro, April 30, 2019. (Foto: Ruben Sevilla Marca, AFP)

At least 25 Venezuelan troops have sought asylum in Brazil’s embassy in Caracas, a senior Brazilian official said April 30, after Venezuela’s Interim President Juan Guaidó claimed soldiers had joined him.

A spokesman for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said soldiers and lieutenants were among the applicants.

The petitions for asylum came as Bolsonaro threw his support behind Venezuelans “enslaved by a dictator,” a reference to Nicolás Maduro whom Guaidó is challenging for power.

“Brazil is on the side of the people of Venezuela, Interim President Juan Guaidó, and the freedom of Venezuelans,”Bolsonaro said in a series of tweets.

“We support the freedom of this sister nation to finally live a true democracy.”

Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo reiterated Brazil’s support for a “democratic transition” and expressed “hopes that the Venezuelan military will be part of this process.”

Brazil is among more than 50 countries that have recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s Interim President.

An apparently carefully planned attempt by Guaidó to demonstrate growing military support on April 30, however, disintegrated into rioting in the Venezuelan capital, sparking calls for restraint.

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