Venezuela has been in a state of unrest and seemingly near collapse for years, and it’s not clear how much longer Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro can hang onto power. Food, medicine, and toilet paper shortages resulting from Maduro’s socialist policies have created unrest among many Venezuelans. Anti-Maduro protests and the responses from the Maduro government have resulted in over 100 deaths.
One small group of military men staged an uprising at a military base that was quickly quashed by Maduro loyalists. The group’s goal, they stated, was to “restore constitutional order.”
The Maduro government is calling the uprising a “terrorist attack.” Reports indicate that one person died, another was badly wounded, and seven were arrested.
Venezuelan authorities suppressed a small rebellion at a military base near the city of Valencia on Sunday, arresting seven men who they say participated in a “terrorist attack” against the government of unpopular President Nicolas Maduro.
Earlier on Sunday a video circulated on social media showing a group of men in military uniform announcing an uprising in the wake of the creation of a pro-government legislative superbody on Friday, which was widely condemned as a power grab.
Some of the alleged plotters got away with weapons stolen from the base, and state security forces were “intensely” searching for them, the defense ministry said in a statement.
Maduro, in a televised address, congratulated the armed services for beating back what he called Sunday’s “terrorist attack.”
Hundreds took to the streets in Valencia to support the uprising, said resident Carolina Herrera, who like other witnesses reported shots through the night.
An attack was launched against a military barracks in Valencia in the north-western Carabobo state.
Army chief Gen Jesus Suarez Chourio said one person had been killed and another badly wounded in the assault.
A video released on social media showed uniformed men saying they were rising against a “murderous tyranny”. Venezuela has seen months of protests.
“This is not a coup but a military and civil action to re-establish constitutional order,” said the leader, who gave his name as Juan Caguaripano.
Mr Cabello said full control had been restored at the Fuerte Paramacay military barracks.
The ruling Socialist Party’s deputy leader, Diosdado Cabello, called it a “terrorist attack” on Twitter.
A senior military officer, Remigio Ceballos, tweeted that seven people had been arrested.
Venezuela’s military alleges that the uprising was financially supported by the United States.
The BBC continues:
Gen Chourio said: “What happened today was a terrorist, paramilitary, mercenary attack paid for by the right (the opposition) and its collaborators, paid for by the North American empire” – a reference to the US, which has denounced President Maduro’s recent actions.
Locals flooded into the streets chanting, “Freedom!” and singing the national anthem. They were reportedly “repressed” by the national guard.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 6, 2017
The incident happened during the early morning hours at the Paramacay base in the central city of Valencia. Residents who live nearby said they heard repeated rounds of gunfire starting around 4:30 a.m.
Dozens of locals gathered outside the base chanting, “Freedom!” and troops dispersed them with tear gas.
The clashes sparked just as a video showing more than a dozen men dressed in military fatigues, some carrying rifles, began circulating widely on social media. In the recording, a man who identified himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano said the men were members of the military who oppose the government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro and called on other units to declare themselves in open rebellion.
“This is not a coup d’etat,” he said. “This is a civic and military action to re-establish the constitutional order.”
The leader of the failed uprising has been outspoken about his opposition to Maduro in the past.
The Boston Herald continues:
. . . . In 2014, Caguaripano released a 12-minute video denouncing Maduro during a previous wave of anti-government unrest. He later reportedly sought exile after a military tribunal ordered his arrest, appearing in an interview on CNN en Espanol to draw attention to discontent within the ranks.
He returned to Venezuela to lead Sunday’s uprising, said Giomar Flores, a mutinous naval officer who said he is a spokesman for the group from Bogota, Colombia.
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