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Juan GuaidóEXPAND
Juan Guaidó
Alexcocopro / Wikimedia Commons

Rubio Tries to Claim Guaidó's Venezuelan Coup Is Not Actually a Coup

Sen. Marco Rubio finally seems to be getting what he wanted: a potential military coup in Venezuela. Early this morning, Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan politician who arbitrarily declared himself the nation's president in January, announced he and a seemingly small band of low-ranking Venezuelan military guards were mounting a revolt against Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro's government.

Though it's unclear if the U.S. is in any way involved in today's uprising, Rubio has spent the morning loudly cheerleading Guaidó's efforts while lobbing melodramatic threats at the Maduro regime. And, amazingly, Rubio is trying to gaslight observers into thinking this is somehow not a military coup even though it very much is:

Other Florida politicians who have been transparently using their support for Guaidó to drum up votes stateside have also chimed in:

In addition to the band of troops, a familiar face showed up alongside Guaidó this morning: Leopoldo López, a right-wing agitator considered by some Venezuelans to be a freedom fighter, and by others to be a fascist or terrorist. López, long known as one of Guaidó's mentors, had been under house arrest for years on (likely trumped-up) arson and conspiracy charges.

López's surprise release today is something of a double-edged sword, however. Though López may energize some members of the Venezuelan right, he is a divisive figure in Venezuelan politics and will not win Guaidó any fans among the millions of committed leftists and socialists who may reject Maduro but also feel skeptical about Guaidó. (López has extremely close ties to many of the individuals who mounted the unpopular 2002 coup of Hugo Chávez, who at the time had been democratically elected and had broad support from most sections of the electorate.)

At the same time, Maduro has predictably cracked down on the uprising by using violence, including firing live rounds at protesters in the streets.

Video has already emerged from Venezuela showing Maduro clashing with Guaidó's and López's forces. At the moment, Guaidó appears to have pulled only about 1,000 troops over to his cause. His success, seemingly, depends on whether he's able to flip more soldiers to his side.

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