Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Nestor Reverol held a press conference this afternoon in which he announced the “dismantling” of an alleged terrorist cell which he claims was planing to launch attacks throughout the country to disrupt the May 20 presidential election. According to Reverol, ten people were arrested in the operation, and that the following items were seized:
- 3,000 cartridges of 7mm ammunition
- A meter and a half of detonating cord
- One 9mm pistol and six corresponding cartridges
- 36 Molotov Cocktails
- 16 pipe bombs
- 13 reproduction pistols
- 9 reproduction knives.
Reverol claimed during the conference that the terrorist cell was linked to Oscar Perez, the renegade police officer who attempted to ignite a national revolt against the Maduro regime throughout much of last year, and whose dramatic death in a battle against regime forces on January 15 captured national headlines for weeks.
During the conference, Reverol announced that the leader of the cell, a 58 year old man named Vasco Manuel Da Costa Corrales, had been arrested in the operation, which the government called Operacion Gedeon II. The police operation that resulted in the deaths of Oscar Perez and six of his fellow rebels was called Operacion Gedeon.
According to Reverol, the cell was preparing to launch attacks of some sort in the coming days and weeks. He said:
They were planning to expand their network’s capacity in numerous cities around the country to stop people from participating and voting in the elections of May 20.
Reverol also said that on top of the ten individuals arrested, authorities are looking for an 11th: a woman by the name of Mayra Isabel Rodríguez Briceño, who currently resides in Spain. Reverol said that Rodriguez is a terrorist, and that she helped finance the operations of the cell that was dismantled.
Opposition Calls for Protests on April 27
The Frente Amplio–a new opposition coalition--issued a call today for protests for April 27 against corruption in the country. The call came from National Assembly deputy Stalin Gonzalez during an interview with Union Radio.
Gonzalez said that in preparation for the protests, the Frente Amplio would hold a assemblies throughout the country through their regional offices to help organize the event.
Gonzalez also said that what precipitated the call for the protests was yesterday’s impeachment vote against Maduro from the National Assembly. Yesterday, the legislature voted to open a judicial proceeding against Maduro over his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar corruption scheme involving Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant.
The Frente Amplio is an amalgamation of opposition parties and civil society groups that are working together to country the Maduro regime. It was created in early March partly as a response to the apparent collapse of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the largest opposition bloc in the country, after it failed to halt Maduro’s march towards authoritarianism throughout 2016 and 2017.
Maduro Government Rejects Call for Impeachment
Venezuela’s top court, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), issued a statement today rejection yesterday’s impeachment vote at the National Assembly against Maduro.
Through his Twitter account, Chief Magistrate Maikel Moreno said that the impeachment vote was illegitimate from the start, since it was precipitated by a call from the Supreme Court-in-Exile, which is made up of opposition-appointed magistrates who live outside of the country. For Moreno, the matter is simple: the TSJ is the only legitimate apex court in Venezuela, and only it has the power to compel the National Assembly to act in any matter.
Attorney General Tarek William Saab also took to Twitter to argue that the impeachment vote “lacks legitimacy”, and said that the entire affair was being orchestrated from Colombia by the regime’s enemies.
Saab did not provide any evidence for his claims.
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