Yesterday’s daring overnight raid on the National Guard barracks in Los Teques, Miranda state was orchestrated and carried out by Oscar Perez, the renegade police officer who captured the attention of the country on June 27 when he commandeered a police helicopter and threw grenades at government buildings in Caracas in the hopes of starting a military insurrection.
Perez has avoided the authorities since he burst onto the national spotlight in June, and has appeared a handful of times both at anti-government protests and through videos published online.
While the national media reported the raid on the barracks yesterday, the identity of the parties responsible for the attack was not clear until a Twitter account linked to Perez posted a pair of videos appearing to show scenes from the assault.
The first video was posted at approximately 4:00 PM EST time, and shows the phrase “ARTI 350” graffitied on surfaces and a vehicle in what appears to be a National Guard base. Below, the video along with my translation of the accompanying tweet:
Freedom has no price. WE WILL RECOVER IT AT ALL COSTS. #OperacionGenesis A new beginning without corrupt politicians, only the people [engaged in] self-liberation #LetItBeDone #NationalEquilibirum #350
A second video appeared on the same YouTube account hours later. The video appears to have been taken by camera placed on the helmet of one of the attackers. In the video, Perez and his men can be seen subduing and then lecturing the captured National Guard soldiers, stealing material, and stepping on pictures of Chavez and Maduro.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Soldier #1 Hey! Look over here. Was anyone injured? Did we kill anyone? [Captured Soldier nods “no”] This was a clean operation, right? [Captured Soldier nods “yes”]Ok, we’re all set here.
Soldier #2: Who are you with, the people or the Maduro regime?
Captured Soldier: The people, man.
Soldier #1: You have to think about what you’re doing, then. We have to defend the people, not those rats, those drug traffickers.
Soldier #2: The God of Israel’s justice is here.
Soldier 1: … with the people? Then why haven’t you done anything about this? Why haven’t you rebelled? People are starving. You yourselves are starving. I’m sure you’re in your homes [unintelligible]. Why haven’t you done anything?
Soldier 2 [Oscar Perez]: You have weapons and you have uniforms!
Soldier 1: Why do you keep defending these narco-dictators, this regime?
Soldier 2 [Oscar Perez]: These murderers! Drug traffickers! They’re the real terrorists. You here are also culpable for all of these deaths, do you hear me? You’re irresponsible!
Soldier 1: I want to know which one of you here has a refrigerator full of food at home. Any of you? [Unintelligible–it sounds like he’s saying something like, “Which one of you has a home full of gifts for your kids this Christmas?] And how are your neighbours doing? So why aren’t you doing anything about this mess?
Soldier 2 [Oscar Perez]: Is this the revolution that you’re defending? The death of the people? All of these sick kids in hospitals? People don’t have anything to eat. Even you are struggling. Have dignity, and honor the uniform that you are wearing. You’re irresponsible. You’re betraying the country for failing to act. This is happening to you not only because of what you’ve done, but also because what you’ve failed to do. Unlike the regime, we’re not murderers. That’s why you’re here the way you are right now. Think about what you’re doing.
[Turning to the camera] The people have the true power, not the regime. Not the drug traffickers who want to dominate us. They are millionaires, and you’re starving. People are dying from sickness, crime, lack of education, lack of homes, lack of everything. May Almighty God and Jesus Christ help you and open your hearts.
This isn’t the war. This is but a battle. Soon, we will win the war. We’re doing this for you, do you hear me? So that Venezuela can be free!
A version of the video above with English subtitles can be found here.
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