Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Maduro says helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court

Demonstrators perform during rally against Maduro's government in Caracas Maduro says helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court
Francis Olson | 28 June, 2017, 08:46

A helicopter has apparently tried to bomb Venezuela's Supreme Court in what President Nicolas Maduro called a "terrorist attack".

Perez said in the video he represented a coalition of military, police and civilian officials opposed to the "criminal" government, urged Maduro's resignation and called for general elections. One of the grenades failed to explode, he added. There were no injuries.

Maduro said one of the pilots involved in the alleged attack used to fly for his former Interior Minister, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who he accused of working for the Central Intelligence Agency.

"What do you call the hijacking of a helicopter from a Venezuelan state institution which then throws grenades?"

Photographs posted online showed a helicopter with the initials of the investigative police unit on its side, flying above the capital.

Meanwhile, the police officer who flew the copter, identified himself as Oscar Perez. "We would liberate the fatherland with weapons".

"We have two choices: be judged tomorrow by our conscience and the people or begin today to free ourselves from this corrupt government", the man said while reading from a statement with four people dressed in military fatigues, ski masks and carrying what looked like assault rifles standing behind him.

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His Instagram profile describes him as an investigator at CICPC, a K9 instructor and a pilot.

Earlier Tuesday, Maduro spoke at a rally and said, "I aspire that the world listens".

"If Venezuela was plunged into chaos and violence and the Bolivarian Revolution destroyed, we would go to combat".

While discussing his proposed constitutional reforms, which appear to be created to strengthen his grip on power, Maduro said: "If we can't do it with votes, then we will do it with weapons". Opposition leaders call Maduro a tyrant who has wrecked a once-prosperous economy, while he calls them violent coup leaders following US orders.

The president is hoping the new assembly will appease protesters, but his opponents say the move will transform the country into a dictatorship.

He said he and supporters would take up arms if his socialist government was violently overthrown by opponents who have been on the streets protesting for three months. More than 70 people have been killed during nearly 90 days of protests seeking President Nicolas Maduro's removal.

Mr Maduro, who accuses Washington of backing his opponents and seeking to control the nation's oil wealth, said the "destruction" of Venezuela would lead to a huge refugee wave dwarfing the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. The International Monetary Fund is forecasting more than 1,600 percent inflation this year.

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