“Venezuela is living one of the worst economic crises in recent memory – “
During live MSNBC coverage Tuesday of protests in Venezuela, the network was forced to cut away from images of a military vehicle reportedly mowing down anti-Maduro protesters.
“Why are the people here in Caracas so upset?” MSNBC host Craig Melvin asked Bloomberg reporter Andrew Rosati while live footage of protesters clashing with Venezuelan military appeared on screen.
“Venezuela is living one of the worst economic crises in recent memory – ” Rosati began to say, as live footage showed a military truck driving into a crowd of protesters, apparently running over several of them.
“Okay. We should get off that picture on the left side of the screen,” Melvin said in response to the graphic images.
Soldiers joined protestors in the streets of Caracas Tuesday in a bid to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido had earlier appeared alongside soldiers at a military base in the heart of the capital and called for an uprising. Announcing the start of Operation Liberty, he promised the soldiers would side with the people against “the dictator” Maduro.
“Today, brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men attached to the Constitution have followed our call,” Guaido said in a video taken at Generalissimo Francisco de Miranda Air Base posted to social media. “The definitive end of the usurpation starts today.”
Maduro did not appear in public, but he declared in a tweet: “Nerves of Steel!” He said the military leaders had “expressed their total loyalty” and called for “maximum popular mobilization to ensure the victory of peace.”
“We Will win!” he said.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has been vocal in his support of interim president Guaido’s opposition, reacted on Twitter to the footage of the military vehicles mowing down protesters.
“The entire world just watched a National Guard armored vehicle ram into a crowd of civilian protestors in Caracas. How far will leaders of military allow this assault on their own people to go in Venezeula?” Rubio wrote.
The entire world just watched a National Guard armored vehicle ram into a crowd of civilian protestors in #Caracas.
How far will leaders of military allow this assault on their own people to go in #Venezuela?
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 30, 2019
“The video of the armored GNB vehicle ramming into a crowd in Caracas was just broadcast live on CNN for the entire world to see. Military & security leaders must realize they are & will be held responsible for this,” Rubio said in a followup tweet.
Progressives, meanwhile, have criticized Trump and Republicans who support Guaido’s purported “coup.” With some exceptions, the debate over the legitimacy of Maduro’s government has broken largely along partisan lines.
Last month, several progressive Democrat lawmakers signed a letter criticizing Trump for recognizing Guaido as interim president and urging Trump to “change course” on Venezuela.
A tweet from journalist Rania Khalek in reaction to Tuesday’s uprising sums up how, for many politicos, Venezuela has become an ideological litmus test:
Again to all you good liberals out there, take note of who’s side you’re taking. If you support the coup in Venezuela, you are siding with the far right https://t.co/JdY4pQh01v
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) April 30, 2019