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2018 Coup Attempts

In June 2018 Bloomberg reported that a plot, code-named Operation Constitution, involved tens of captains, colonels, and generals from all four branches of Venezuela’s armed forces. The goal was to arrest President Nicolás Maduro and put him on trial. The plotters, wearing blue armbands marked OC, were to storm the presidential palace and main military base and stop the May 20 presidential election. More dramatic claims, include that there was a separate plot, Operation Armageddon, which called for Maduro’s assassination at a military parade in July 2017.

Some of the planning took place in Bogotá, but Colombian and US officials, who knew about the plot, declined to provide active support. Speaking in Texas in February 2018, as coup preparations were coming to a head, then U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson noted that militaries in Latin America frequently step in during crises. “If the kitchen gets a little too hot for [Maduro], I am sure that he’s got some friends over in Cuba that could give him a nice hacienda on the beach,” he said.

In mid-May 2018, several dozen servicemen, including one woman, as well as a couple of civilians, were secretly arrested—some have been accused of treason—and imprisoned by a military court. Many say they’ve been tortured.

An explosion rocked Venezuela on 04 August 2018. As the South American country's President Nicolás Maduro was giving a speech, a large explosion cut his speech short and had soldiers scattering. There are contradicting points on what the explosion were, but the general consensus is that it was an attempted assassination attack. Two drones, armed with C4 explosives, exploded at the nearby building. Venezuela's Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez has said several drones detonated close to where the president was giving a speech. The president was unharmed, but seven soldiers sustained injuries.

According to the government, the assassination was attempted with two remote-controlled drones, each carrying a kilogram of plastic explosive C4, which was "capable of causing effective damage over a 50-meter radius." One of the drones reached near Maduro but then it became "disoriented by signal inhibiting equipment" and was thus "activated outside the assassins' planned perimeter." The second drone collided into a nearby building.

Maduro simultaneously accused opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens and exiled opposition leader Julio Borges – a former parliamentary speaker – of having plotted the "assassination" attempt. Requesens was arrested in a swoop by the SEBIN national intelligence service unit in Caracas on Tuesday night. The opposition lawmaker's sister, Rafaela Requesens, who is a student leader, was also arrested by security forces.

Nicolas Maduro accused Julio Borges of being linked to an alleged attempt to assassinate him, saying that "some evidence" points at the opposition leader. Maduro also said that he would ask extradition of all those linked to the attack residing abroad. The Venezuelan Supreme Court greenlighted on 08 August 2018 the detention of opposition leader Julio Borges who had been accused of an assassination attempt against the country's President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela's government-allied Constituent Assembly said it will try opposition lawmakers in connection with what the government says was a failed assassination attempt against President Nicolas Maduro. Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello called a session on Wednesday to strip opposition lawmakers of their parliamentary immunity so they could face trial for the alleged and failed bid to kill the president. "When justice comes, it hits hard," Cabello said. There was no explanation as to why all opposition lawmakers would be targeted, in what looked more like a sweeping crackdown on government opponents. Cabello offered no evidence that they had been involved in the Saturday "assassination" attempt.

Meanwhile, Borges, the exiled opposition leader, described the "assassination" attack on Maduro as a "farce" and "staged." "Neither the country nor the world believes you when it comes to this farce of an attack. We all know that it was staged to persecute and repress those of us who oppose your dictatorship," Borges tweeted from the Colombian capital, Bogota.

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Page last modified: 03-05-2019 18:38:30 ZULU