Oscar Perez, the renegade police officer who rose to fame in June after hijacking a helicopter to attack government buildings in Caracas and launching a small guerrilla campaign against the Maduro regime, made what might be his last stand in a safe house in El Junquito, Caracas this morning.
As of the publishing of this update, Perez’s condition and whereabouts are unknown. It has been nearly one hour since he last provided an update.
Authorities surrounded the house shortly before dawn this morning. As the morning progressed, the two sides engaged in a firefight that left Perez and an unknown number of his companions injured.
In a series of 16 increasingly frantic Instagram videos posted throughout the morning, Perez explained that he was attempting to negotiate his surrender with the authorities, but that they would not accept. Perez also repeatedly expressed that there were civilians in his safe house and that he was concerned about their safety.
Below, Perez’s videos showing the progression of his last stand in El Junquito this morning.
The first video shows Perez announcing his location, and confirming that he is engaged in talks with the authorities for his surrender:
The second video, recorded shortly after the first, contains much of the same information as its predecessor:
In the third video, Perez appears ready to hand himself over to the authorities, and calls on Venezuelans to continue his struggle now that he has been captured:
In the fourth video, Perez addresses his children once again. A second man speaks to the camera at the end, and explains that Perez and his group were not acting out of self interest, but for the benefit of all Venezuelans:
The fifth video shows Perez overcome with emotion as he struggles to deliver a message:
A sixth video shows Perez announcing that there are civilians in the safe house along with him and his men, and that he is interested in negotiating in order to ensure their safety:
The seventh video was recorded after the authorities launched their attack on the safe house. The video shows a bloodied Perez explaining that a prosecutor (a worker from the Public Ministry) promised them something on behalf of the authorities, but that they authorities then broke that promise and instead attacked then. In the head of the moment, Perez reported that they authorities were “shooting us with grenade launchers”, likely as a result of the confusion caused by the fog of war. Perez and his companions were in fact taking RPG and possible grenade fire:
The eighth video was recorded shortly after the seventh. In it, Perez reiterates some of the same information from the previous video:
YouTube will not allow me to upload the ninth video in the series for a a copyright violation. The video is short, and only shows a bloodied Perez speaking into the camera. Gunshots ring in the background as Perez yells:
Oscar Perez: They’re shooting at us! To the people of Venezuela: always free!
A lull in the fighting allows Perez to record a tenth video in which he calls on Venezuelans to take to the streets to support him:
The eleventh video:
In the twelfth video, Perez explains that the authorities are continuing their assault on the building, and confirms that there are civilians in the premises. As Perez shouts, government forces fire on the building:
The thirteenth video shows a frantic Perez telling the camera that the authorities are refusing to accept their surrender, and are instead bent on murdering them:
A fourteenth video shows a resigned Perez confirming his belief that the authorities will not allow them to exit the safe house alive:
In the fifteenth video, Perez reiterates the message from the previous video, this time during a firefight:
The sixteenth and final video is the last one in the series. It was also recorded during a firefight, and Perez announces that some of his men are wounded. Perez’s last words committed to video were a desperate plea–“Stop shooting!”–to the authorities:
Perez’s Mother Posts Video Plea
Oscar Perez’s mother posted a her own video on social media today, calling on the authorities to allow her son and his men to surrender. Below, the video along with my translation:
Oscar Perez’s Mother: I am Oscar Perez’s mother. He is trying to surrender and they won’t let him. Let him surrender. Keep him alive. If anything happens to him, you will be responsible. The international community will hear about this. Let him surrender. He is not a murderer. He’s fighting for his country, for Venezuela. Show him your support.
Perez’s Twitter Account Sees Spike in Activity
Oscar Perez’s Twitter account saw a spike in activity this morning as the assault on his safe house in Caracas took place.
In a series of messages, Perez–or an individual controlling his account–called on Venezuelans and the military to rise up against the Maduro regime in support of Perez and his men.
Below, some of the tweets posted this morning along with my translation:
We call on civil society and other resistance cells to light the streets on fire. We are ready
DEATH TO THE TYRANTS
[We are on] the new highway in El Junquito.
The police agencies that are attacking us today are COMPLICIT and OBSEQUIOUS with the narco-regime. They are responsible for the MASSACRE that is happening to our people.
God Homeland and Glory to the Resistance Forward to Victory
We know that not every armed officer is in favour of the regime. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT TO SHOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE DEFENDING
The account also tweeted a threat to PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello, who spent some of the morning providing updates on the situation through his own account:
We are coming for you.
THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING
THIS IS THE MOMENT TO DO BATTLE, THE MOMENT TO FIGHT FOR VENEZUELA
GO OUT ON THE STREET
DEFEND YOUR COUNTRY
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
Do not fear the regime. THE REGIME SHOULD FEAR US.
We are the ones who have the power.
WHEN THOSE AT THE BOTTOM MOVE, THOSE AT THE TOP TREMBLE.
LET’S GO VENEZUELA, BECOME THE PHOENIX
GOD IS WITH US…
The tweet below is aimed at quelling rumours that Perez was somehow working for the government all along:
We are going to make something very clear to Venezuelas inside and outside of hte country: WE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE “FAKE”, A RED HERRING, A FALSE FLAG, OR SPIES!
The Resistance in Venezuela IS REAL
Shortly after 10:00 AM, a tweet was sent announcing that the account was not in Perez’s procession:
These accounts are being controlled by Oscar Perez’s friends.
We don’t know what is happening at the moment, it has been several minutes since they last made a report.
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