Venezuela’s government said on Monday it had suppressed a military revolt after a group of officers stole weapons and kidnapped several officials, as a video posted online showed a sergeant demanding the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.
The attempted coup came just days after Maduro stood for a photo op with the country’s top military brass and proclaimed that the armed forces were “with me “one hundred percent.”
Some two dozen officers attacked a National Guard outpost in the Caracas neighborhood of Cotiza, a kilometer from the presidential Miraflores palace, where they met “firm resistance,” the government said. Witnesses reported hearing gunshots at about 3 a.m. in the morning.
Protesters later burned trash and a car outside the outpost, where the 25 officers were arrested, in a sign of growing tensions following Maduro’s inauguration to a second term that governments around the world have called illegitimate.
Though the incident signals discontent within the armed forces, it appeared to involve only low-ranking officers with little capacity to force change in the hyperinflationary economy as many people suffer from shortages of food and medicine.
“The armed forces categorically reject this type of action, which is most certainly motivated by the dark interests of the extreme right,” the government said in a statement read out on state television.
Maduro was inaugurated on Jan. 10 under an avalanche of criticism that his leadership was illegitimate following a 2018 election widely viewed as fraudulent, with countries around the world disavowing his government.
Credit: Reuters, www.reuters.com