Residents of Caracas, Venezuela were witness to an unbelievable spectacle last week when a stolen police helicopter fired shots and dropped grenades on the Venezuelan Supreme Court. There are conflicting reports about the attack, which took place last Thursday afternoon, and it’s still not exactly clear who orchestrated it. Here is what we know so far and some of the conversations swirling around right now.
Here is video footage of the helicopter attacking the Venezuelan Supreme Court in Caracas.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 28, 2017
There haven’t been any confirmed deaths or injuries in connection to the attack of the Supreme Court but a manhunt is underway to find those who orchestrated it. So far, authorities are looking for rogue police officer Oscar Pérez, who is allegedly behind the attack, according to The New York Times. The attack on the Venezuelan Supreme Court comes at a time when Venezuelans have been protesting against the Maduro government for three months as they fight for their democracy. The Supreme Court may have been targeted because opposition leaders accuse the court of actively propping up the Maduro government and making legal decisions to strengthen his hold on power.
The main suspect is Oscar Peréz, a member of Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas (CICPC), a forensic police force, according to The BBC.
Credit: Caraota Digital / YouTube
The BBC reports that Peréz is a “highly trained agent” who was the chief of the Air Force Division of the Special Action Brigade. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused Peréz of being a terrorist who is working with the CIA to overthrow the Maduro-led government. Asserting that the CIA is attempting to overthrow his government is a common claim by Maduro.
“We are nationalists, patriots and institutionalists,” Peréz says in the video claiming responsibility for the attack, which he also posted to his Instagram account. “This fight is not against other state security forces. It is against the impunity imposed by this government. It is against tyranny. It is against the death of young people fighting for their legitimate rights.”
The men in the helicopter held a flag that read “Art. 350, Libertad” which refers to “Article 350, Freedom.”
— venezuelanalysis.com (@venanalysis) June 28, 2017
Article 350 is a reference to an article in the Venezuelan constitution that states that the people can “disown any regime, legislation or authority that runs counter to democratic principles and guarantees, or that undermines human rights,” according to The New York Times.
It has also been reported that Peréz is a part-time actor who appeared in a movie titled “Suspended Death” in 2015.
“Suspended Death” is an action/drama movie that chronicles the story of the Correia family that is shaken by a kidnapping orchestrated by a Colombian man. The movie shows the way the CICPC works in situations of this magnitude and is based on a true story.
Some people doubt the claims made by the Venezuelan government and suggest that Peréz is actually working for the Maduro government.
— Angelo Torrealba (@angeloTJ) June 28, 2017
Opposition leaders are unsure of the truth behind the Maduro government’s claim that a “terrorist” has attacked the Supreme Court.
“It seems like a movie,” Julio Borges, the president of the opposition-led assembly, said according to The Guardian. “Some people say it is a set-up, some that it is real but I summarize it like this: a government is decaying and rotting, while a nation is fighting for dignity.”
Mitú will continue to update this story as more information comes forward.