Venezuelan Troops Say They Quashed Attempted Anti-Government Attack At Military Base

Aaron Brown
August 8, 2017

Two assailants were killed and 10 captured today in an armed attack by "terrorists" on a Venezuelan military base, President Nicolas Maduro said on state television.

While a constituent assembly is normally created to rewrite an existing constitution or draft a new one, this assembly has already shown that it sees its powers as being much wider, such as sacking the chief prosecutor.

According to Reuters a video had circulated on social media earlier in the day showing a group of men in military uniform announcing an uprising in the wake of the creation of a pro-government legislative superbody on August 4, which was widely condemned as a power grab.

"They can't", he said.

"We'll get them", he vowed.

The attack came as Venezuela's controversial constitutional assembly is getting down to work, signaling in its initial decrees last week that delegates will target Maduro's foes as he had warned.

Maduro said the lieutenant was among those captured, and was "actively giving information and we have testimony from seven of the civilians". A military uprising, while it would no doubt be somewhat bloody and leading to unpredictable results, may be the best (if not only) remaining option for removing Maduro and restoring some sense of order to Venezuela.

Attackers were repelled and several were taken prisoners, among them the referred subordinate officer, the text indicates.

The White House said Mr Maduro was effectively a dictator after "seizing absolute power" with the vote for a constituent assembly.

During his weekly TV programmeĜŒ Maduro said a military deserter was amongst those involved and that weapons were stolen from the base. Other protests also emerged spontaneously around Valencia into the afternoon.

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The attack capped an already tense weekend during which a new constitutional assembly that will rule with almost unlimited powers voted to remove chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz.

Dozens of locals gathered outside the base chanting, "Freedom!" and troops dispersed them with tear gas.

More than 100 people have died in clashes between security forces, and protesters and more than 500 people have been detained, reports the AP.

The action included the screening of a video filmed by that subordinate who three years ago was expelled from the institution for treason to the homeland and rebellion, the Venezuelan army said in its release.

The leader of the alleged coup attempt in Valencia was identified as Juan Carlos Caguaripano, a former captain in the national guard who was cashiered in 2014 after making public declarations against the government. He later reportedly sought exile after a military tribunal ordered his arrest, appearing in an interview on CNN en Espanol to draw attention to dissatisfaction within the ranks over Venezuela's demise. But the president is believed to still have the military's support.

Venezuela's latest bout of political unrest erupted in protest to a Supreme Court decision in late March ordering the National Assembly dissolved.

Opposition leaders have urged the military, which historically has served as an arbiter of Venezuela's political disputes, to break with Maduro over what his foes consider violations of the constitution.

As with the latest uprising, most manifestations of dissent among troops have been small and isolated thus far.

The opposition, which controls Congress, boycotted the election for the new body, saying the rules had been rigged.

In a statement Monday, the European Union said Ortega's dismissal flew in the face of Maduro's "claims that peace and democracy would benefit" from the new assembly, and it condemned the increasing polarization of Venezuelan society.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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