A police helicopter recently attacked the Venezuelan Supreme Court, however, the motive still remains unclear. The allegedly stolen helicopter fired 15 shots on the Interior Ministry, before flying over the Supreme Court building and dropping four grenades, in what the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called a “terror attack.” Maduro said that no one was injured as the grenades had failed to detonate. The attack comes after months of fierce and, often violent opposition, to Maduro’s government. In spite of this, the Supreme Court has been unconditionally supportive of the Maduro government, after dissolving Parliament in late April.
In the wake of the event, a man, who was identified as a police squad pilot, Oscar Perez, called for a rebellion against the “tyranny” of Maduro. A senior analyst at the International Crisis Group told Al Jazeera that the incident was “very strange,” and that, thus far, no military response had been detected from government forces.
Meanwhile, opponents took to social media to voice their concern that the government would use the attacks as the basis for a crackdown on dissent. To expand, the Maduro government has faced months of protests, with thousands of people demonstrating daily against shortages of food, medical supplies, household basics, severe inflation, and to call for elections. The death toll since the protests began in earnest three months ago stands at 75, the most recent of which was the killing of David Vallenilla outside an airbase on Thursday. The coalition of opposition forces, known as the MUD, has called on the military to lower its weapons.
Both sides blame the other for the continuing violence. For instance, those who are loyal to the Maduro government claim that the opposition, that is backed by governments in the West that oppose Maduro’s anti-imperialist project, is looking to overthrow a legitimately formed government. In addition, opinion polls confirm that many of Venezuela’s working class have not joined in on the protests due to fears that the government’s defeat would signify the return of neoliberalism. As such, Maduro’s government blames the opposition, which is mainly made up of middle-class Venezuelans, for stoking the economic, and resulting, political crisis. The MUD disputes this, claiming that corruption in the government, poor economic management, reliance on oil, and an abuse of power by Maduro and his officials have all been contributing factors.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) has, thus far, been unable to reach a consensus on the Venezuelan crisis, which has, therefore, caused international assistance to be slow to materialize. To expand, twenty states of the OAS voted to support a statement criticizing Venezuela on June 19, but 23 votes were needed to carry the motion in the 34-member state body. Despite the result, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called for an election timetable, the freeing of prisoners, the independence of the judiciary, and the autonomy of the National Assembly. Almagro did this as “Venezuela needs an international humanitarian channel that provides drugs and food to the Venezuelan population.”
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