The confusing assault on a military base in Venezuela sparked questions about the unity of the Armed Forces around President Nicolás Maduro, in the midst of a crisis that is becoming more and more explosive.
In an incident in which both the government and the attackers claim victory, about twenty men stormed on Sunday morning at Fort Paramacay, home of the 41st Army Brigade, located in Valencia, 180km west of Caracas.
The president said that among those captured, only one is a deserter of the Armed Forces. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López ruled out a military insurrection and released photos of the arrested “civilians”.
Although the scope of the attack is unknown and it was perpetrated by a mixed command of civilians and military deserters and in exile, experts agree that evidence of a malaise in the middle ranges of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB).
This shows the growing discontent of police and military groups, even though the military high command remains allied to the government. New incidents can be expected as this discomfort increases,”
said Diego Moya-Ocampos, an analyst at IHS Markit Country Risk in London.
The action was led by captain Juan Carlos Caguaripano, who, shortly before the attack, appeared in a video on social networks in which he is presented as the “commander of Operation David”.
The president stated that the “terrorist” group had ties with Colombia and the United States, but did not allude to Caguaripano.
Captaing Javier Nieto Quintero said they achieved the goal of subtracting between 98 and 102 rifles, caliber 156 and AK-47.
For military expert Rocío San Miguel, the “beneficiary” of this action is
the most radical sector of the government, which exhibits a triumph and will begin to persecute civilians and military officials.”
In May, opposition leader Henrique Capriles said that about 85 soldiers, sergeants and captains were arrested for dissenting repression of opposition protests, which have resulted in 125 dead in four months.
Capriles then clarified that people must differentiate between the corrupt leadership and the soldiers suffering from the socio-economic crisis.
The opposition has repeatedly called on the Armed Forces to break away from Maduro, who has given them enormous political and economic power so the high command has declared absolute loyalty to him.
The new plenipotentiary body promoted by Maduro, which will rule the country for two years and write a new constitution, started “working” by dismissing prosecutor general Luisa Ortega, who broke with Maduro. Its next actions could be cancelling the immunity of opposition legislators to send them to prison.