By Nestor Rojas Mavares (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – Venezuelan military and government officials said on Sunday they had quashed an uprising against President Nicolas Maduro by a rebel group, which took place in a fort in the center of the country and reportedly left seven detainees, including the leader of the uprising.
According to reports, Brigade 41 in the city of Valencia, capital of Carabobo state, was taken briefly by the rebel troops, headed by former National Guard captain Juan Caguaripano.
“We declare ourselves in rebellion united with the brave Venezuelan people to reject the murderous tyranny of Nicolas Maduro. This is not a coup d’état but a civic and military action to restore constitutional order and save the country from total destruction and to stop the Murder of our youth, “Caguaripano said in a video broadcast on social networks and through the press.
The first official to react was Diosdado Cabello, deputy and now member of the Constituent Assembly that assumed with plenipotentiary powers. Through Twitter, he explained that at dawn Sunday attackers “terrorists” entered Fort Paramacay and that there were several detainees. Cabello, retired military man who participated in the coup attempt of 1992 by Hugo Chavez, is attributed influence in the barracks.
Army Chief General Jesus Suarez Chourio sent a message stating that he was in Brigade 41 and that the “paramilitaries” who attempted to assault the facility “were repelled and defeated.”
“Peace returned again, we were subjected to a terrorist attack, paramilitary, mercenary against peace, but found us as a single unit, like an oak, united by the motherland and the rogue was again defeated,” he said surrounded by soldiers.
At the same time, Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino issued a statement in which he noted that in the morning there was a “paramilitary-type terrorist attack against the 41st Armored Brigade of the Bolivarian Army”, located in Valencia, admitting that the rebels managed to steal weapons from the fort.
“This action was carried out by a group of civilian criminals carrying military garments and a first lieutenant in a situation of desertion. They were immediately repelled by the personnel assigned to the above unit, several arrests being made, including that of the said officer (Caguaripano), part of the group managed to subtract some weapons and are under intense search by state security agencies,” he said.
According to Padrino, the operation included the broadcast of a video recorded by the official (Caguaripano), who three years ago was separated from the institution for “treason and rebellion” and fled the country and received protection in Miami.
According to the press, Caguaripano deserted and was a fugitive after being accused of conspiring against the Government in 2014.
The minister said that the captured subjects confessed to being contracted in the states of Zulia, Lara and Yaracuy, by activists of the “extreme Venezuelan right” in connection with foreign governments.
“This is nothing more than a propaganda operation, a desperate step that is part of the destabilizing plans and the ongoing conspiracy that has been brewing, to try to avoid consolidating the rebirth of our republic,” said Padrino.
Numerous clouds and suspicion remain over the events on Sunday. The opposition MUD coalition remains awaiting further details.
The military commanders have maintained loyalty to Maduro, with Padrino claiming defense of the Constitution, even after the denunciations of a possible fraud in the elections of July 30th, in which the members of the Constituent Assembly were chosen.
The move comes amid strong political tensions over the installation of the Constituent Assembly on Friday, which is rejected by the opposition and which on Saturday took as its first step to summarily remove Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz.