Venezuela still searching for 10 base attackers

Posted August 08, 2017

The move appeared to signal a unsafe new phase in Venezuela's break with democracy, reinforcing fears about Maduro using the new National Constituent Assembly (ANC), to rubber-stamp a fresh campaign against opponents. Borges called the building, with its gold cupola, the "symbol of popular sovereignty". "It should be known this assembly was true to its mandate".

When the constituent assembly first met on Saturday, the influential deputy leader of the governing socialist party, Diosdado Cabello, suggested it should meet for two years rather than six months as originally planned.

In theory, both the National Assembly and the pro-government constitutional assembly can rule simultaneously, but the new super body created through a July 30 election that drew global condemnation has the authority to trump any other branch of government.

While the "quick response" of the military was praised by President Maduro, 10 of the attackers remain on the run after raiding the arms depot.

He also announced that a new "truth commission" was being installed Sunday, setting up its offices in a historic building in Caracas that also houses the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

The new, all-powerful legislative assembly aims to lock in the "Bolivarian revolution" begun nearly 20 years ago by late President Hugo Chavez, Maduro's mentor and predecessor.

"This is a completely legal process", he said.

Allies of President Maduro had said in the days before that Ms Ortega would not be in her post much longer.

The minister said that the captured subjects confessed to being contracted in the states of Zulia, Lara and Yaracuy, by activists of the "extreme Venezuelan right" in connection with foreign governments.

The widening political gulf comes as opposition parties face a rapidly approaching deadline to declare whether or not they will take part in scheduled December regional elections. The official turnout count in the July 30 election for the constitutional assembly is being questioned at home and overseas.

In his Sunday address, Maduro defended the constitutional assembly's right to remove Ortega Diaz, comparing it to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to fire acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she publicly questioned his immigration order shortly after taking office in January.

Maduro frequently refers to opposition leaders and protesters as "fascists". The CEO of voting technology company Smartmatic said last week that the results were "without a doubt" tampered with and off by at least 1 million votes.

According to officials, around 20 men were involved in the assault, led by an army officer who had deserted battled troops in the base in the third city of Valencia for three hours early Sunday.

In his weekly broadcast, Maduro said the men would get the "maximum penalty".

A video showing more than a dozen men dressed in military fatigues, some carrying rifles, began circulating widely on social media around that time.

The other 10 escaped with weapons taken from the facility, according to officials who said an "intense search" was underway for them.

Stacked with Maduro supporters, the quasi parallel parliament also has the power to dissolve the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

In it, a man who identifies himself as Captain Juan Caguaripano says that their action is "not a coup d'etat".

"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.

"Soldiers! Don't give yourself to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel", Chaplin says in the speech.

At the same time, Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino issued a statement in which he noted that in the morning there was a "paramilitary-type terrorist attack against the 41st Armored Brigade of the Bolivarian Army", located in Valencia, admitting that the rebels managed to steal weapons from the fort.

A representative, who said he was Venezuelan but declined to give specifics about the group or his location, said they were not affiliated with "Operation David" but supported it.