President Nicolas Maduro vowed that a band of anti-government fighters who attacked a Venezuelan army base will get the “maximum penalty” as his administration roots out his enemies.
Troops killed two of the 20 intruders who slipped into the Paramacay base in the central city of Valencia early Sunday, apparently intent on fomenting a military uprising, Maduro said in his weekly broadcast on state television.
One of the invaders was injured, seven captured and 10 got away, the embattled leader said.
“We know where they are headed and all of our military and police force is deployed,” Maduro said. He said he would ask for “the maximum penalty for those who participated in this terrorist attack.”
The attack came as Venezuela’s controversial constitutional assembly is getting down to work, signaling in its initial decrees last week that delegates will target Maduro’s foes as he had warned.
The new assembly, whose powers supersede all other branches of government, voted to remove the nation’s outspoken chief prosecutor Saturday. On Sunday, Maduro announced that a new “truth commission” created by the assembly had been installed to impose justice on those fueling the unrest that has wracked the country since early April.
The constitutional assembly is expected to meet again Tuesday, while lawmakers in the opposition-controlled National Assembly scheduled their own session for Monday, vowing to continue fulfilling their responsibilities no matter what the assembly might do. Leaders of opposition groups, which boycotted the July 30 assembly election, called for renewed protests on Monday, though turnout at demonstrations has been sparse in recent days.
Residents who live near the army base in Valencia attacked Sunday said they began hearing bursts of gunfire around 4:30 a.m.
TILLERSON / TRUMP COUP PLOT TO REMOVE MADURO !
Rex Tillerson, President Trump’s secretary of state, has threatened regime change in Venezuela. The former Exxon CEO’s remark coincides with the arrest of Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, two Venezuelan opposition leaders who were under house arrest and subsequently sent to prison by the government of Nicolás Maduro. Trump said he would hold Maduro “personally responsible” for the safety of López and Ledezma. In a statement, Trump also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
Tillerson said the United States may directly intervene in Venezuelan political affairs. “We are evaluating all of our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution,” he said, adding that the United States will work with its Organization of American States (OAS) “partner” to effectuate Maduro’s removal.
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