U.S. Vice President Mike Pence released a video message Tuesday to the people of Venezuela, urging them to "make your voices heard" in nationwide protests expected on Wednesday.
Pence's message supported the political opposition to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his hard-left government.
The opposition-controlled National Assembly, which Maduro has declared invalid, has called for Wednesday's protests.
"We are with you," he told the political opposition in English, sprinkled with Spanish phrases. "We stand with you." The message was subtitled in Spanish. "We will stay with you until democracy is restored and you reclaim your birthright of" -- he switched to the Spanish word -- "Libertad," or, in English, liberty.
As the good people of Venezuela make your voices heard tomorrow, on behalf of the American people, we say: estamos con ustedes. We are with you. We stand with you, and we will stay with you until Democracy is restored and you reclaim your birthright of Libertad. pic.twitter.com/ThzIAqBoRn— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 22, 2019
In the message Pence calls opposition leader Juan Guaido, recently sworn in as head of the National Assembly, "courageous." He said the Assembly is the "last vestige" of democracy in Venezuela.
His message concluded, "Vayan con Dios," or in English, "Go with God."
On Monday the Venezuelan Defense Ministry said Venezuelan security forces arrested 27 National Guardsmen, after they allegedly revolted against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The ministry said "a small group" of National Guard members had taken four hostages and stolen weapons from an outpost in Caracas' Cotiza neighborhood during a pre-dawn action.
The military said it had recovered all the weapons and captured those involved in what it described as "treasonous'' acts motivated by "obscure interests tied to the far right.''
A few hours earlier, a group of guardsmen also reportedly posted videos on social media saying they won't recognize the Maduro government and urged him to leave office. They asked those seeing the video to help them overthrow the government.
The failed revolt sparked protests in the poor neighborhoods of the capital as the news spread. At daybreak in Cotiza, a group of young men built a barricade across the street with a burning car, heavy sewer grates and a large chunk of concrete. "Freedom! Freedom!'' they chanted. "Maduro has to go!''
Maduro's administration has come under increasing domestic and international pressure as he begins a second term that that the opposition-led congress considers illegitimate.