Maduro calls attack on military base a 'terror act'

RIO DE JANEIRO, Georg Ismar (dpa) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has condemned a Sunday attack on a military base in the country, calling it a "terror act on the armed forces."
The early morning attack, which Maduro claimed saw two people die and one person injured, targeted a coastal military base in Venezuela.

The majority of the seven arrested for the attack were soldiers from "ultra-right" groups, the socialist president said on his own television show "Domingos con Maduro."
Maduro alleged that those involved were supported with money from the United States and Colombia, calling them "mercenaries and terrorists." He said that some attackers were still on the run, including the ringleader.
The attack on the Paramacay complex in Valencia, 170 kilometres west of the capital Caracas, was launched by around 20 mercenaries, who targeted the firearms depot at the base, according to Maduro.
According to ruling party chief Diosdado Cabello, government troops acted quickly to contain the threat, saying there was "absolute normality in the country's remaining military units."
The uprising was reportedly called "Operation David," and was apparently directed against the embattled president.
Venezuela is embroiled in a deepening political crisis as Maduro moves to consolidate power in response to months of often-violent protests against his rule.
One of the ringleaders of the attack, captain Juan Carlos Caguaripano, was cited by the website of the El Nacional daily as saying the plot was meant to counter plans to rebuild the constitutional order.
Caguaripano went into hiding in 2014 after declaring an uprising against Maduro and was excluded from the military. Speaking in an online video surrounded by uniformed men, he said that his group was "in a combined rebellion with the courageous people of Venezuela, against the murderous tyranny of Nicolas Maduro."
"This is not a coup, but an action of the military and civilians to re-establish constitutional order and to stop the land from complete destruction and to save our youth," he added.
Following a recent vote decreed by Maduro and condemned internationally as a power grab, the Venezuelan government established a 545-member constituent assembly, which is officially tasked with rewriting the country's constitution.
Stacked with Maduro supporters, the quasi parallel parliament also has the power to dissolve the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
In the first measure taken by the body, the Constituent Assembly of Venezuela dismissed the country's independent attorney general, Luisa Ortega Diaz, on Saturday.
The troubled South American nation has been engulfed by protests since April. Despite having the world's largest oil reserves, the country is suffering from inflation and chronic shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans already have fled the country into neighbouring Colombia and Brazil to escape the country's economic and political turmoil.

Monday, August 7th 2017
Georg Ismar

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