Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro oversaw a display of the army’s Russian hardware on Jan. 27, with anti-aircraft guns and tanks firing a hillside to show military force and loyalty in the face of an international ultimatum for new elections.
Maduro, 56, is confronting an unprecedented challenge to his authority after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, citing a fraudulent election. Guaido has won wide international support and offers amnesty to soldiers who join him.
On Jan. 27, Israel and Australia joined the countries backing the 35-year-old leader, and President Donald Trump’s administration said it had accepted Venezuelan opposition figure Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the country’s diplomatic representative in the U.S.
In return, Maduro said the military display showed the world he had the backing of the military.
“Nobody respects the weak, cowards, traitors. In this world, what’s respected is the brave, the courageous, power,” Maduro said.(Reuters)