Venezuela government says arrests made after reports of military uprising

07 August, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Vatican urges Venezuela to suspend constitutional revision

Critics say lucrative government contracts, corruption and contraband mean many military officials want Maduro to stay in power.

Officials said several of the "terrorists" had been arrested and insisted all was normal across the country.

Maduro claims its work will yank Venezuela out of its worsening spiral of political and economic crisis, though he has not detailed how.

Gunshots were heard in the area during the night, Reuters reported, citing a witness in the area of the military base in the town of Naguanagua. Rear Admiral Remigio Ceballos, head of the military's strategic operational command, said on Twitter.

"There has been a gradual erosion of democratic practise and this is a significant line that has been crossed", said Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based think tank Inter-American Dialogue. It did not identify those governments.

Critics at home and overseas have condemned the so-called constituent assembly that formed on Friday and is meant to replace the popularly elected National Assembly, which opposes Maduro's increasingly authoritarian rule.

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The opposition, which controls the legislature, has become sidelined.

On Saturday prominent opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was returned home to serve his sentence under house arrest, days after being hauled back to prison in the middle of the night in a move that drew global condemnation. The leadership notably excludes Socialist Party No. 2 Diosdado Cabello, a long-time rival for power to Maduro, who himself put Rodriguez's name forward.

Speaking on television, Maduro said that of the 10 men who didn't get away, just one was a military officer and he had deserted a few months ago.

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The US State Department called the Assembly illegitimate Thursday, saying the election was rigged to further entrench "the Maduro dictatorship".

Leaders of the opposition urged Venezuelans to fill the streets of the capital on Friday, hoping to provide a strong turnout to show that many people objected to the Assembly.

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He later reportedly sought exile after a military tribunal ordered his arrest, appearing in an interview on CNN en Espanol to draw attention to dissatisfaction within the ranks over Venezuela's demise.

The two former mayors of Caracas, Ledezma and fellow opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez were jailed after being accused of destabilising the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez says the incident was quickly suppressed by troops and the men captured.

Seven men were detained in Sunday's attack on the base in the central city of Valencia.

"Do you know what they are trying to do? They can't", he said.

It was not known if he was the lieutenant referred to in the military statement.

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