Maduro, the 'Tropical Stalin', struts as hunger and violence sweep Venezuela

Maduro, the 'Tropical Stalin', struts as hunger and violence sweep Venezuela

A video circulated on social media of a uniformed group calling themselves the 41st Brigade.

Fort Paramacay, near the central city of Valencia, was attacked by "mercenary terrorist groups", Venezuelan official, Socialist Party deputy Diosdado Cabello tweeted on Sunday.

The commander of Venezuela's army says attackers who staged an apparent uprising at a military base encountered a legion of troops who remained loyal to the government.

The statement said those detained had "confessed" to being hired by "extreme-right activists, in connection with foreign governments".

Borges said the Venezuelan military "is a mirror of a country that wants change".

One witness in the area of a military base in the town of Naguanagua reported hearing gunshots before dawn, but Cabello said the situation had been brought under control.

"This is not a coup but a military and civil action to re-establish constitutional order", said the leader, who said his name was Juan Caguaripano and referenced "Operation David".

It came after a video was released showing a group in military clothing declaring that they wanted to save the country from "destruction". In the video the rebels, who appeared before the Internet it was said that those who will not join the fight will be "military targets".

Critics at home and overseas have condemned the so-called constituent assembly that formed on Friday and is meant to replace the popularly elected National Assembly, which opposes Maduro's increasingly authoritarian rule.

Since April more than 120 people have been killed in unrest as rock-throwing protesters were met by state security forces firing rubber bullets and water cannon.

Venezuelan intelligence agents have returned opposition leader Antonio Ledezma to his home, where he is serving house arrest, after taking him to prison early on Tuesday, Ledezma's family said on Friday.

Venezuela's deepening political and economic crisis has provoked a surge of asylum seekers to Mexico this year, government figures show, with applications to stay in Mexico setting a record pace.

Venezuelan authorities on Sunday accused the political opposition of being linked to the Valencia rebellion, raising the spectre of a further crackdown on dissent in coming days.

"This is a dictatorship!" she denounced, while promising to continue "to fight for freedom and democracy in Venezuela".

Despite its pledge of "absolute" support to Maduro, the military is under strong pressure, blamed by the opposition for violently quelling protests and urged by it to switch sides.

Also, an increasing number of foreign governments have refused to recognise the Assembly and many within Venezuela fear it will create a one-party state.

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