From Twitter

A group of military officers attacked a Venezuelan army base this Sunday, August 6, took its stash of weapons and declared victory on social media. The government continues to call the event a “terrorist attack,” but others view it as a possible precursor to a coup of Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship, which has been condemned by most of the international community for holding fraudulent elections and inflicting violence on protestors.

National Guard Captain Juan Caguaripano reportedly led the assault with 20 officers, who the government said were stopped by officials stationed at the Paramacay Military Base in the city of Valencia, Carabobo. However, local reporting conflicts with that story, claiming instead that the group was at least partially successful in taking the base’s store of arms.

Two of the men were killed during the altercation, Maduro said. Eight others were arrested, three of whom were members of the military, Reuters reported. The rest of the men, who Maduro called “mercenaries,” managed to get away.

“Those who escaped are being actively searched for, and we are going to capture them,” Maduro said.

Caguaripano uploaded a video on social media the same day as the attack, in which he and his men claimed to have risen up against the dictatorship “to save the country from total destruction, to stop the murders of our youth and family.”

In the video, Caguaripano also urges the illegitimate National Constituent Assembly to “respect the will of the people, to get rid of tyranny.”

This is not the first time that Caguaripano has called for an uprising. He uploaded a video in 2014 outlining similar goals:

“This is not a coup. The real coup was when the current regime took power away from Venezuelans. They have usurped our currency, our human rights and the Constitution,” he said in the video. “These are sincere and timely solutions. The common Venezuelan desires nothing more than national reconciliation and there are more than just two or three groups of soldiers seeking that goal and a long-term solution. There are many who feel outraged and want a way out. For this reason we are working and will continue to work despite the persecution we are enduring.”

At the time, the regime accused Caguaripano of conspiracy to overthrow Maduro, but he managed to remained hidden until this weekend’s assault on the military base.

Caguaripano had previously been assigned to an anti-extortion and kidnapping unit, according to sources within the National Guard. They said he had a “history” of participating in anti-government protests and other demonstrations, even commenting in a 2014 CNN interview that the country’s worsening circumstances would lead him to rise up against the government.

“When you see the injustice and especially when you see the indifference of the military commanders in the face of the events that are happening in the country — the abuse, murder, torture — you feel obligated to assume the role of revolutionary that history and circumstances have placed before you. I don’t pretend to be any kind of figurehead. I am a simple GNB officer, my only merits being that I am a Venezuelan, a Latin American and a child of God. I have both defects and virtues, but with the firm conviction that we can live in a free Venezuela.”


Following news of the uprising, demonstrations have broken out, which the National Guard has reportedly worked hard to repress.

Reporter Sebastiana Barráez said officials have set up military check-points going into the capital city of Caracas as well as deployed several “security units” to Valencia, where crowds have clashed with the military, the National Anti-Extortion and Kidnapping Command of the Bolivarian National Guard, and special forces.

Tweet: There are vehicle checkpoints run by soldiers, and forces are also being dispatched to Valencia.

Reporter Elyangelica Gonzalez and other sources have reported that other branches of the military are also taking up arms.

Sources: NTN24, Diario Contraste, CNNespañol.