Jose Vicente Rangel, the host of a Sunday pro-regime show called Jose Rangel Hoy, spoke today on the recent string of arrests of military officers, saying that the Maduro regime had successfully “aborted” an imminent coup d’etat attempt.
In recent weeks, the Maduro regime has made a number of arrests against retired and active members of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. In early March, seven officers and two enlisted men were arrested for conspiring against the regime. Miguel Rodriguez Torres, a former Minister of the Interior under Maduro, was also arrested recently for allegedly taking part in a conspiracy against the regime.. The arrests were preceded by the purging of 24 officers from the military for alleged disloyalty to the regime.
During his show, Rangel suggested that the arrests were all related, and all involved a plan to overthrow Maduro. Rangel said:
In the last few days, the national government aborted a coup d’etat that involved officers who were being manipulated by civilian members of the opposition, and who were supported by military and intelligence elements of the United States.
Rangel also said that the arrested individuals were talking to the authorities and providing “fundamental information” about the supposed conspiracy, and that the coup d’etat was scheduled to take place on or around May 20 to coincide with the elections that day.
Rangel did not provide any clarification or evidence for his claims.
Alonso Medina Roa, a lawyer with the Foro Penal Venezolano [Venezuelan Penal Forum] (FPV), said today that more than 100 soldiers have been arrested for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the government since the start of the year, and that 34 of them are currently behind bars.
Argentinian Political Prisoner Escapes Venezuela
Marcelo Crovato, an Argentinian criminal lawyer in custody in Venezuela since 2014, managed to escape the country yesterday by crossing over into Colombia alongside with wife and two children. Crovato was arrested in 2014 for helping protesters who were arrested during the anti-government protests that shook the country that year. While authorities alleged that Crovato was participating in the protests, he claims to have been simply speaking to a person who had been victimized by a police raid on their home.
Crovate was charged with a wide range of crimes, including public intimidation and associating with the purposes of comitting a crime.
Crovato had been living under house arrest in Caracas since 2015, after having first served approximately one year in the Yare III prison, where he attempted suicide as a result of his poor health. At the time, Venezuelan media reported that Crovato was suffering from skin cancer and chinkungunya, as well as issues with his back.
According to NTN24, Crovato crossed into Colombia some time yesterday. Crovato told of the crossing in an audio clip that he shared on social media in which he said:
I didn’t want to look at anyone. I kept saying to myself: “I’m close, and if someone were to stop me I would push them and run”, but that was not necessary. I simply crossed [the border] looking really serious. When Is saw the signs that said “Colombian Police”, I felt an incredible relief and my eyes teared up.
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