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April 18, 2014

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Ex-Venezuelan general in armed standoff at home

Updated Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 | 4:44 p.m.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — One of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's most outspoken critics has become the latest rally cry for opposition protesters after engaging in an armed standoff with security forces.

Retired army Gen. Angel Vivas sported a flak jacket, assault rifle and handgun Sunday as he defiantly addressed dozens of neighbors from the balcony of his home in eastern Caracas.

Supporters rushed to his defense after he announced to his 100,000-plus followers on Twitter that a group of "Cuban and Venezuelan henchmen" had come looking for him. The crowd forced the officers to move away.

Maduro has ordered Vivas' arrest for allegedly encouraging students to stretch wire across streets where they've set up barricades in recent weeks. The president blames the apparent booby trap for the death of a government supporter.