Venezuela – Dissidents Temporarily Take Over Military Base

By Faye Higbee

A group of armed men claiming to be part of the Venezuelan military took over part of the Paramacay base in Valencia. The government called it a “terrorist attack” and moved quickly to stop it. They arrested seven dissidents, one person died, and one was badly injured.

As with many of these types of incidents, the Maduro government has often been accused of staging them to justify rounding up dissidents.

Translation of tweet by Alberto Franceschi: URGENT! SUPPORT RESISTANCE With them are also officers and retired troops, police and civilians. 42W

Calling their takeover “Operation David,” their commander, Juan Carlos Caguaripano, said they were there to liberate Venezuela from the clutches of Dictator Nicholas Maduro.

The leader in the video, Juan Carlos Caguaripano, a former National Guard captain, said it was not a coup: “We demand the immediate formation of a transition government…This is a civic and military action to re-establish constitutional order. But more than that, it is to save the country from total destruction.”

According to the government, the men were trying to steal weapons from the military facility during their occupation of the base. They referred to the group as “terrorists” and “mercenaries.”

“These attacks, planned by delirious minds in Miami, only strengthen the morale of our armed forces and the Bolivarian people.”  Socialist Party official Elias Jaua.

If it is found that any of the participants in this action were active military, the punishment is likely to be extreme.

Their take-over attempt came after the Maduro government put in place a new group of pro-government members for the nation’s Constituent Assembly – an action widely viewed as a power grab. Maduro now has the ability to “re-write” the Venezuelan Constitution amid the downhill slide of their economy.

Maduro also ousted Chief Prosecutor- Attorney General- Luisa Ortega, who often spoke against the government’s treatment of protesters. Venezuelan troops seized her office and arrested opposition leaders. When she arrived for work she found her bank accounts frozen and the doors barred with military troops. Others in the government who have been sympathetic to the opposition know they could be next.

“They won’t let me go inside.” Luisa Ortega

According to Reuters at least 120 people have been killed in protests around the country. Other estimates of deaths are even higher. An uncountable number have been arrested and taken away.