A grenade attack on the headquarters of the Portuguesa State Police (Poliportuguesa) in Guanare left one person dead and 25 others injured. The attack happened at 7:30 AM this morning while officers at the site were lining up for morning roll call.
According to El Universal, two assailants drove by the headquarters on a motorcycle and threw two grenades at the building. The building suffered some damage as a result. The governor of Portuguesa, Reinalo Castañeda, said that one officer was killed at the scene.
Following the attack, police were able to track down one of the suspects, who was killed in the ensuing confrontation. The driver of the motorcycle is still at large.
Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez attributed the attack to the “non-conventional war” the government claims is being waged by the Venezuelan opposition, and said that people close to the jailed leader of Voluntad Popular, Leopoldo Lopez, carried out the attack. Gonzalez Lopez singled out Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, saying that she had met with regional VP agents last week in order to “plan out future violent actions” in the country.
During a press conference, Gonzalez Lopez said:
The Venezuelan right-wing has not stopped its attempts to overthrow the constitutionally elected government, and it also supports deplorable acts such as the one that took place at the Centro de Coordinacion Policial Los Proceres in Guanare, Portuguesa state. [These attacks] are related with these non-conventional war tactics.
While Gonzalez Lopez said that the government had evidence to back of his claims, he did not provide any additional details.
Zapatero Arrives in Venezuela
Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero arrived in Caracas earlier today on a mission to attempt to mediate dialogue between the opposition and the government. Zapatero – who hopes to be able to meet with representatives from both sides over the weekend – is in Venezuela under the auspices of UNASUR, which is overseeing the dialogue initiative.
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica has already confirmed that they will meet with Zapatero this weekend.
Yesterday, the head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, outlined some of the conditions the opposition has set for sitting down with the government to dialogue. These conditions include:
- Widening the mediation team to include the Vatican, and possibly the Organization of American States and other countries
- Holding any dialogue in some place other than the Dominican Republic
- Putting an end to the government’s barriers to the recall referendum
- The release of political prisoners
- Respect for the National Assembly
National Assembly MUD deputy Alfonso Marquina explained the goal of the MUD’s meeting with Zapatero this weekend:
This meeting will take place in other to deliver these conditions to the President [Maduro] as pre-requirements in order for the dialogue to take place.
Rodriguez: Gov’t Will Not Accept Conditions
The mayor of the Libertador municipality, Jorge Rodriguez, responded to the MUD’s conditions for dialogue today, saying:
We [the government] have never set out conditions for a dialogue, and we are not willing to accept conditions. We are going to sit down without conditions, so that everyone can come to the table to discuss.
Rodriguez said that it is vital for the dialogue to take place without conditions “to preserve the peace in the country”.
He also called on the MUD to “stop the non-conventional war” the government claims the opposition is waging against the country. Rodriguez said:
We firmly demand that sectors of the Venezuelan right wing stop its rhetoric of intolerance, hatred and violence; its [continuation] of the non-conventional war against the economy and the peace in the country, and that they stop their calls for intervention and meddling from imperialist actors and the international right-wing in matters that only concern us Venezuelans.
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