A group of armed Venezuelan patriots, led by a former army officer, were unsuccessful in an attempted anti-government rebellion on Sunday, according to reports.
In a video released to the public, the leader of the faction, Capt. Juan Caguaripano, declared, “We are united now, more than ever, with the brave people of Venezuela who do not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro’s murderous tyranny.”
Caguaripano identified the group as the “41st Armoured Brigade of Fort Paramacay” and announced that it consists of “officers and troops from this glorious unit who represent the real Venezuelan army, that has fought to forge our liberty.”
Caguaripano rejected allegations that his activities consisted an attempted coup, instead describing it as “a civic and military action meant to reestablish the constitutional order and, more importantly, to save the country from its total destruction and to keep our young people and families from being murdered.”
The rebellion is said to have begun with an attack upon a military base in the early hours of Sunday morning, but was quickly repelled, and the members of the militia responsible were arrested.
Venezuela’s embattled socialist President Maduro described the incident as a “terrorist attack”, while a senior Venezuelan general described it as “a terrorist, paramilitary, mercenary attack paid for by the right and its collaborators, paid for by the North American empire.” A statement by the nation’s defense ministry referred to the individuals involved as “extreme-right activists”, and claimed that besides the leader, none of the other individuals involved had a record of military service.
Some elements within the Venezuelan military are said to opposed to socialist rule and open to ousting the left-wing dictatorship that currently governs the South American country, while others are strongly loyal to the incumbent regime. A previous coup attempt against Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, failed in 2002.