Venezuelan Military Officers Arrested In Connection With Attack On Maduro

Venezuela has arrested two military officers in connection with the alleged assassination attempt on President Nicolás Maduro earlier this month.

Two Venezuelan military officers have been detained in connection with the recent alleged assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during a military ceremony two weeks ago:

Venezuela’s attorney general said Tuesday that two high-ranking military officers have been detained in the investigation into an alleged drone attack against President Nicolas Maduro.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab said National Guard Maj. Gen. Alejandro Perez and National Guard Col. Pedro Javier Zambrano were presented to court late Monday in the August 4 incident.

Opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens is accused of taking part in the plot, his lawyer said. Several other individuals have been arrested.

Army Gen. Armando Hernandez, in a video posted on social media, said he was being detained at his flat in Caracas by counterintelligence service DGCIM.

CNN could not independently verify the claim.

Maduro has accused opposition groups of orchestrating the failed attack and claimed the “financiers and planners” of the operation live in Florida.
Authorities have identified the masterminds of the assassination attempt as well as the people who assisted them, Saab said previously.

The investigation, which involves four prosecutors, has yielded the locations from where the drones were piloted, as well as the arrests of two of the drone pilots, the country’s top law enforcement official said.

“We also know the places where they stayed in the days leading to the attack. We have identified the people who made the explosives and prepared the weapons and their international links,” Saab said.

He further said the alleged assassination constituted a “betrayal to the motherland, intentional homicide attempt, terrorism, association to commit a crime and financing terrorism.”

These arrests relate to an August 4th incident in which Maduro was apparently attacked while presiding over a military parade by what appears to have been a drone or drones that contained explosive devices. From the video of the event that has been made available, it doesn’t appear that the drones actually got anywhere close to Maduro or the stage on which he was standing, nonetheless the government in Caracas has, predictably, played up the attack as evidence of plots against him and his government. Some outsiders, though, have suggested that the attack may have been staged in order to divert public attention away from the state of the economy and the unrest that has been building due to the state of the economy and Maduro’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Additionally, there’s been some suspicion that attacks such as this have been used by the central government to root out military officials who may be critical of Maduro or who may be tempted to stage a coup.

Assuming that these arrests are genuine, though, it wouldn’t be the first time that military or law enforcement forces sought to undercut Maduro’s grip on power, and it’s hardly the only sign of unrest in a country that has been beset by political and economic instability for the better part of a decade. Two years ago, Maduro was attacked by a mob of civilians that chased him banging pots and pans, an act which itself has become a symbol of the fact that the nation has been on the verge of famine for several years now. Just about a year later, in June of last year, a Venezuelan police officer stole a helicopter and engaged in an assault on the Venezuelan Supreme Court and the Interior Minister with grenades and gunfire. That police officer, Oscar Perez, later used social media to rally others to join him and to wage attacks on military bases around the country. Instead of setting off a wider rebellion, though, Perez was ultimately killed in a military and law enforcement assault earlier this year. Two months after the attack by Perez, a group of soldiers led an attack on a military barracks near Caracas. This group also released videos urging others to join them, but there were no signs at the time of a wider rebellion inside the military notwithstanding the dismal state of the nation’s economy. Assuming that this attack was genuine, then, it was the third time inside of three years that Maduro faced a challenge to his authority from inside his regime. If nothing else, that suggests that the situation in Venezuela is far less stable than it appears to be.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Lounsbury says:

    Mmmm: “If nothing else, that suggests that the situation in Venezuela is far less stable than it appears to be” – as phrased it gives the sense of suggesting there is an image of stability in Venezuela. One might rather say “even more unstable than it appears to be.”

    Maduro does rather seem to be going for a clownish version of Stalinism politics. Perhaps that fits the era of Trump. A kind of 18 Brumaire evolution.

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  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have a hard time believing any military man thought sending a drone with an oversized firecracker and exploding it in the air was going to kill anyone.

    On the other hand, it gave me an interesting idea to use for a thing I’m writing. Pity about the purging and the starving and the jailing, but I got an embellishment to a scene, so that’s good.

    @Lounsbury:
    And kudos for 18 Brumaire. OTB comments section continues to outperform.

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  3. Gustopher says:

    If this is the best the Venezuelan military can do, I think all of their neighbors can breathe a little easier.

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