Venezuela's supreme court attacked with grenade from police helicopter - Politics | PoFo

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Venezuela's supreme court attacked with grenade from police helicopter

President Nicolás Maduro says grenade lobbed by “terrorists” did not explode in incident following months of increasing violence against government.

Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro said on Tuesday that a police helicopter had attacked the supreme court in Caracas – but a grenade tossed at the building did not explode.

Speaking on state TV, the 54-year-old president, who has been facing three months of opposition protests and some dissent from within government ranks, said that Venezuelan special forces were searching for the “terrorists” behind the attack.

There were unconfirmed witness reports the helicopter was being flown by a police officer who had declared himself in rebellion in a video on social media.

The helicopter had also flown over the interior ministry, Maduro said, adding: “I demand that the MUD [opposition coalition] condemns this eminently coup-mongering attack.

“It could have caused a tragedy with several dozen dead and injured.”

Pictures of a blue police helicopter carrying an anti-government banner appeared on social media around the same time as a video in which a pilot for the police squad, identified as Oscar Pérez, called for a rebellion against Maduro’s “tyranny” as part of a coalition of members of the security forces.

“We have two choices: be judged tomorrow by our conscience and the people or begin today to free ourselves from this corrupt government,” the man said while reading from a statement with four people dressed in military fatigues, ski masks and carrying what appeared to be assault rifles standing behind him.

Opposition activists have been staging unrelenting protests against a government they accuse of chronic mismanagement and increasingly authoritarian behaviour. The once-prosperous oil-producing country has suffered from rocketing inflation and spiralling crime rates.

The pro-government supreme court is particularly hated by Maduro’s opponents for its string of rulings bolstering his power and undermining the opposition-controlled legislature.

Earlier on Tuesday, Maduro had warned that his supporters would take up arms if his government was overthrown.

Speaking at a rally to promote a 30 July vote for a constituent assembly, Maduro said he would fight to defend the “Bolivarian revolution” of his predecessor Hugo Chávez.

“If Venezuela was plunged into chaos and violence and the Bolivarian revolution destroyed, we would go to combat. We would never give up, and what we failed to achieve with votes, we would do with weapons. We would liberate the fatherland with weapons.”

His comments, which were broadcast live to the country, came after one of the worst outbreaks of looting in three months of deadly protests. Some 68 businesses, including supermarkets, liquor stores, bakeries and food shops were ransacked in a wave of lawlessness that began Monday night in the city of Maracay, 100km west of Caracas, and continued well into Tuesday afternoon.

Videos circulating on social media showed at least a dozen supermarkets being ransacked by looters. The headquarters of the governing party, the PSUV, was also reportedly burnt.

More than 80 people have died since the clashes began in early April, but Monday night’s violence marked the first time that street clashes have spread into more generalised anarchy.

Maduro, who accuses protesters of being terrorists trying to wage a US-backed coup attempt against his government, is pushing for a constituent assembly that would redraft the country’s constitution. The move has been rejected by both the opposition and by a growing number of dissidents from within his own party.

On Tuesday, Maduro said the “destruction” of Venezuela would unleash a refugee wave dwarfing the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. “Listen, President Donald Trump,” he said. “You have the responsibility: stop the madness of the violent Venezuelan right wing.”

Julio Borges, head of the opposition-led national assembly just said that Maduro’s statement could not be taken lightly.

“It is the clearest acknowledgment that Venezuela lives a dictatorship that intends to impose itself – against the democratic spirit – through a constituent assembly that will only deepen the social, political and humanitarian crisis that affects the country.”

Following what is really going on in Venezuela is a nightmare from a purely impartial perspective, trying to distinguish hard facts from propaganda (considered posting more sources than The Guardian but I felt the first post would be too long).

What I'm most curious about is exactly to what extend the US is involved in this current crisis. Blaming US foreign policy is always a comfortable narrative often used in many South and Central American countries but there is of course a very good reason for it.
May be an autocoup, Erdogan style. The Venezuelan socialists are supposed to implement some kind of drastic constitutional change (dictatorship) in a few days and they don't have the mandate, this might be an engineered crisis to justify mass arrests. Or it might be genuine revolt and a potential civil war on the horizon. My money is on the former.
Igor Antunov wrote:May be an autocoup, Erdogan style. The Venezuelan socialists are supposed to implement some kind of drastic constitutional change (dictatorship) in a few days and they don't have the mandate, this might be an engineered crisis to justify mass arrests. Or it might be genuine revolt and a potential civil war on the horizon. My money is on the former.

Or it could be the US supporting and financing anti-democratic right wing militias, in order to destabilise a leftist Latin American government. This would be part of a process for getting rid of the country's sovereignty and replacing the government with one that will sell out the local country's economic interests in favour of US interests.

As usual in Latin America.

This is far more likely than the two options you posited.
If it is an American engineered coup I would hope it would be more effective than a grenade dropped from a helicopter.

Not everything happens because America did it. Why is it so weird that people might protest when the government centralizes power and there are shortages?

Nah nevermind, that's way more far fetched than the US organizing massive protests against the perfectly stable government, healthy economy, and happy people of Venezuela.
It's not like it's one or the other, it can be mixtures of things. The US always tries to nudge things to it's benefit, the protests are an obvious outcome of poor management of Venezuela's oil resources and economic policy, and Maduro is also making various efforts to strengthen his power.

I think the US part of the equation is vastly overstated. Many of it's problems are Venezuela's own making.
The US never imposed meaningful economic sanctions on Venezuela.

Clangeddin wrote:So, weighting the possible scenarios:

1) Self-engineered autocoup a-la Erdogan.
2) Typical USA interference against anything that is remotely communist.
3) Genuine and spontaneous revolt.

Likelyhood of any of these scenarios in percentage?
Also, any other possible scenarios out there to explain this?

The protests have been going on for months, motivated by the disastrous economic situation and Maduro's power grab. Over 91 deaths so far. 6 million protested on April 19 alone.

I don't know about this particular incident.
Many argue that the protesters are fanned by the US so I don't agree that it can't be a mixture of things. The protesters can simultaneously really believe what they are saying and doing while being supported by the US.

The way the attack was preformed was also rather odd so it could also have factors beyond what you've listed.

I also think it's silly to take this single event by itself and just sort of ignore everything else that's going on. Any conversation about any one event like this is ultimately a continuation of the conversation about the whole situation.
Quates from the BBC ( :lol: )

He is pictured brandishing a high-calibre weapon while scuba-diving, and in another video shows off his gun skills by shooting a target over his shoulder, using only a make-up mirror as a guide.

He also appeared in the 2015 Venezuelan movie, Suspended Death, which tells the story of elite police officers rescuing the victim of a kidnapping.

- On the terrorist Perez. Sounds like one of the worst soldier-of-fortune divas that ever existed. Right down to the make-up mirror. :lol:
The mood on the street says it all. Venezuela has everything from a benign climate and agricultural land to vast oil reserves yet it can barely feed itself. The other thing it has is a totally inept government which cares more about ideology than market forces. Oh the evil Gringos. They want to enslave the world.
Of course the US is meddling in an unstable south American country, that's a given. But the current situation is broader than that.

I think the government tried to implement too many social/economic/political reforms too quickly, some of which were unrealistic; hence shortages, funds drying up, unable to coordinate investment and revenue management in key industries, etc. They destabilized/tipped the country by trying to micromanage it too aggressively, nationalizing too many industries too quickly.

This should have been done over many decades, not a few years. This was Russia's 90's shock therapy, but in reverse. You don't transform a mixed economy into state capitalist socialism overnight. They tried. It's predictably a mess.

Finally this Helicopter attack looks like a stunt. Grenades out of a helicopter onto court building? Right...

I think the government, mandate or no mandate, has had enough with the protests in the capital, and the goal is to copy Erdogans wildly successful antics in crushing opposition dissent once and for all.
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