An uprising against the government of Venezuela’s unpopular President Nicolas Maduro was reportedly foiled by authorities on August 6. Police arrested seven men who they said participated in a “terrorist attack” against the president.
Venezuela’s armed forces issued a statement calling the rebellion an ill-fated “propaganda show” aimed at destabilising the country and reaffirmed their allegiance to Maduro.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, authorities said the men were mercenaries working for a US-backed opposition to bring down nearly two decades of the Bolivarian regime in oil-rich Venezuela.
“These attacks, planned by delirious minds in Miami, only strengthen the morale of our armed forces and the Bolivarian people,” said Socialist Party official Elias Jaua.
According to Reuters a video had circulated on social media earlier in the day showing a group of men in military uniform announcing an uprising in the wake of the creation of a pro-government legislative superbody on August 4, which was widely condemned as a power grab.
Hundreds took to the streets in Valencia to support the uprising, but hooded protesters had been largely dispelled with tear gas by midday on Sunday, and the rest of the South American country of 30m appeared to be calm.
The episode highlights how volatile Venezuela is after four months of sustained anti-government protests over what foes call a lurch into dictatorship amid a bruising economic crisis, reported Reuters.
In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, noted that critics at home and abroad have condemned the so-called constituent assembly that formed on August 4 and is intended to replace the popularly elected National Assembly, which opposes Maduro’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
The constituent assembly quickly moved to dismiss the state prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, a former ally of Maduro’s who has recently become his staunchest critic.
Ortega refused to recognise the assembly’s move and vowed to resist the Maduro regime “with my last breath” against what she considers the government’s unconstitutional overreach.
Since April, more than 120 people have been killed in the daily clashes as rock-throwing protesters have been met by state security forces firing rubber bullets and water cannon.