CARACAS (CBSMiami) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the latest attempted coup an “armed terrorist attack.”
On Tuesday, a stolen police helicopter flew over the country’s Supreme Court building, firing guns and launching grenades. According to the Venezuela’s information minister, the chopper also fired 15 shots at the Interior Ministry as a reception was taking place for about 80 people. No one was hurt.
“For me, and for a lot of activists here, it is a fake. It is not true,” said Jani Mendez.
Before the attack, a man who identified himself as Oscar Perez posted a video online declaring his opposition to the country’s “criminal government.” He called for a rebellion against Maduro’s “tyranny” as part of a coalition made up of members of the security forces.
But not everyone is certain Perez, who has appeared in an action/adventure movie, is really leading a rebellion.
“That guy represents them,” Mendez said.
“Them” meaning the Maduro government, who critics say may have staged the chopper incident to rally supporters.
“People believe this is something created by the G2 from the Cuban government. Other people believe this is a serious plot,” said Jose Rivas.
Real or not, it is symbolic says FIU Professor Eduardo Gamarra.
“Members of the opposition now are overtly saying it is time to overthrow the regime,” Gamarra said.
The helicopter has been found, but the pilot nowhere to be seen.
The state prosecutor, a Maduro critic, cannot leave the country. Her bank accounts have been frozen.
More demonstrators are planned.
Will the U.S. get involved as they did in 2002?
“Probably not going to finance a coup, they are certainly not going to invade and more than likely we are not going to arm any Venezuelans to over throw the regime,” Gamarra said.
In a speech, Maduro declared what his movement couldn’t achieve through the ballot box it would achieve through force.
On Capitol Hill, U.N. Ambassador Nicky Haley told members of the foreign relations committee there is concern violence in Venezuela will increase.
“I will also work and make sure that is on our list. Venezuela. Huge concern, huge concern in every way,” she said. “I can’t bring enough attention to what the Venezuela people are going through and how we’re seeing more and more aggression by Maduro.”