On 6/28/2017 4:15 AM, jat wrote: part of the story as usual
The full story.
Note: the attack is rather foolish and was doomed to be ineffective
Sounds more like a provocation by the government to discredit the opposition
Venezuela: police helicopter attacks supreme court with grenades
President says explosives failed to detonate in incident following
months of increasing violence against his rule
Wednesday 28 June 2017 11.58 BST
First published on Wednesday 28 June 2017 01.48 BST
A police helicopter launched grenades at Venezuela's supreme court
building on Tuesday evening following months of protests against the
country's president, Nicolás Maduro.
Maduro said "terrorists" had lobbed two grenades that failed to
detonate. Some reports put the number of grenades higher. Local media
suggested a former police intelligence officer had carried out the attack.
Videos circulated on social media showed a man piloting the helicopter
while holding a banner that read "Liberty. Article 350", in reference to
the part of the Venezuelan constitution that allows citizens to declare
themselves in civil disobedience in front of "any regime that runs
counter to democratic guarantees or undermines human rights".
The incident took place just hours after Maduro warned that he and his
supporters would be willing to take up arms if his government was
toppled by "undemocratic forces".
Local media quoted witness accounts describing what they said had
sounded like an exchange of fire between guards at the supreme court
building and the helicopter. Maduro referred to the incident as an "act
of terrorism", and called on his supporters to activate a "new phase in
the revolution" should anything happen to him.
According to the Venezuelan daily El Nacional, the man who piloted the
helicopter is Oscar Pérez, a former captain in the CICPC, Venezuela's
intelligence and investigative body. In a video released on social
media, Pérez speaks directly to a camera flanked by four masked men
wielding what appear to be assault rifles.
"Venezuelans, dear brothers, we talk to you on behalf of the state. We
are a coalition of military, police and civilians in search of an
equilibrium and against this transitory, criminal government,"Pérez
said. "We have two choices: be judged tomorrow by our conscience and the
people or begin today to free ourselves from this corrupt government."
Perez claims to have no political affiliation. In a second video, he
pointed to a purple ribbon tied around his left arm and says his
allegiance is to "the truth and to Christ" According to his Instagram
profile, Perez is a crime units investigator, a pilot and a K9 instructor.
Maduro, speaking on state TV, said the grenades did not explode and
Venezuelan special forces were searching for the "terrorists" behind the
Maduro added: "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."
In a video, Oscar Pérez, reportedly the pilot who flew the helicopter,
reads a statement against the government.
Later, information minister Ernesto Villegas read a statement accusing
the helicopter of firing 15 shots against the interior ministry as a
reception was taking place for 80 people. It then flew a short distance
to the government-stacked supreme court, which was in session, and
launched what he said were four Israeli-made grenades of "Colombian
origin", two of them against national guardsmen protecting the building.
The president of the high court said there were no injuries from the
attack and that the area was still being surveyed for damages. Villegas
said security forces were being deployed to apprehend Pérez, who the
government accused – without giving evidence – of working under the
instructions of the CIA and the US embassy in Caracas, as well as to
recover the helicopter.
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, 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.
What do we know about the Venezuela helicopter attack?
"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."
Associated Press contributed to this report