Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has taken to the streets with a small contingent of heavily-armed soldiers and detained activist Leopoldo Lopez in a military uprising.
"Today courageous soldiers, fearless patriots, brave men supporting the Constitution have answered our call", Mr Guaido said in a video recorded with a small group of uniformed men, one day before a planned anti-government rally.
Lopez said he has been freed by members of the military responding to an order by Guaido, whom the USA and dozens of other governments recognize as Venezuela's rightful leader.
President Nicolas Maduro's government is now preparing to confront a small group of "military traitors" as the country appears on the brink of all-out war.
"We inform the Venezuelan people that we are now confronting and deactivating a small group of military traitors", he wrote.
Brazil's foreign minister on Monday voiced high hopes for a major rally planned this week in Venezuela by Juan Guaido, the country's self-proclaimed president.
He said he was at the Caracas air base La Carlota.
US-backed Mr Guaido also said "the end of the usurpation" was beginning against the Maduro goverment.
"At this moment I am meeting the main military units of our Armed Force initiating the final phase of Operation Freedom".
"We call on the people to stay on high alert, along with the glorious Bolivarian National armed forces, to defeat the coup attempt and preserve the peace".
Around 50 countries including the United States have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, and Washington has imposed sanctions to try to dislodge Maduro. The government has arrested his top aide, stripped Guaido of his parliamentary immunity and opened multiple probes.
Mr Lopez said he had been "freed" by troops supporting Mr Guaido.
Last week, Guaido said his congressional ally - opposition lawmaker Gilber Caro - had been detained, and that 11 members of his team had been summoned to appear before the Sebin intelligence agency.
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