The Latest: Maduro says ‘truth’ panel to punish for unrest
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on Venezuela’s political crisis (all times local):
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says a “truth commission” created by the new, all-powerful constitutional assembly will ensure that those responsible for the current wave of unrest face justice.
Maduro announced on his weekly Sunday broadcast that the commission was setting up its offices at the Casa Amarilla, an historic building in Caracas that also houses the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
He added that the new assembly is considering a law against “hate, intolerance and fascism” that would try and immediately punish those found liable for the troubled nation’s recent upheaval.
Maduro frequently refers to opposition leaders and protesters as “fascists.”
He singled out the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Julio Borges, warning him, “Justice is coming for you.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says 10 men escaped after Sunday’s failed attack on a military base and authorities are hunting for them.
Maduro says 20 men in all entered the Paramacay base in Valencia shortly before 4 a.m. He says soldiers assigned as night guards were caught by surprise and the intruders were able to work their way to the base’s weapons supply.
The president said troops battled with the intruders until about 8 a.m. He says 10 of the men escaped, while two of the invaders were fatally shot, a third was wounded and seven others were captured.
Speaking on television, Maduro said that of the 10 men who didn’t get away, just one was a military officer and he had deserted a few months ago.
The president alleges the attack was “paid for” by anti-government leaders based in Miami and Colombia.
Brazil is criticizing the removal of Venezuela’s chief prosecutor by a newly installed constitutional assembly with nearly unlimited authority to govern.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry calls Luisa Ortega Diaz’s ouster “arbitrary and illegal.”
President Michel Temer says the ongoing political crisis in neighboring Venezuela is worrying and his country is “on the side of the Venezuelan people.”
In a video posted online, Temer says “there is no more space for non-democratic alternatives in South America.”
Ortega Diaz is a longtime government loyalist turned critic of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. She has refused to recognize the assembly’s vote Saturday to remove her from office.
An opposition party official in Venezuela says a local leader has been shot dead at a protest near a military base that was attacked earlier by a group opposed to President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
Haydee Franco is coordinating secretary of the Progressive Advance party. Franco says the man identified as Ramon Rivas was slain in the central city of Valencia, less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the base.
Rivas was declared dead at a medical clinic.
Protests are taking place in various neighborhoods around Valencia Sunday afternoon. Many of the demonstrators say they support the men who launched the attack.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez says the incident was quickly suppressed by troops and the men captured.
National guard troops have launched tear gas to disperse the demonstrations.
Venezuela’s defense minister says a small group of men who attacked a military base were civilians wearing military uniforms with the exception of one deserted army lieutenant.
Vladimir Padrino Lopez alleges that the men were recruited by “right-wing extremists” with ties to unspecified foreign governments. He adds that the attackers managed to steal some of the army’s weapons.
Seven men were detained in Sunday’s attack on the base in the central city of Valencia. They are expected to be tried in military tribunals.
Earlier a video circulated online in which a man who identified himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano announced the men were in rebellion and encouraged Venezuelans to support them. In 2014, while a member of the national guard, Caguaripano denounced President Nicolas Maduro before going into exile.
A statement from Padrino Lopez also mentions the recording of a video by a military officer who was dismissed three years ago “for betraying the homeland and rebellion” and fled the country.
Padrino Lopez calls the incident a “propaganda show.”
The commander of Venezuela’s army says attackers who staged an apparent uprising at a military base encountered a legion of troops who remained loyal to the government.
Jesus Suarez Chourio says troops responded “with one fist” and “the riffraff was defeated once again.”
In a video message broadcast on state television, Suarez Chourio said the “paramilitary” group that attacked the Paramacay base before dawn was “taking advantage of current conditions.”
Venezuela has been embroiled in four months of political upheaval. That intensified this week with the election and installation of a constitutional assembly that will rule with nearly unlimited powers.
A video that circulated on social media earlier Sunday showed a group of men in military fatigues proclaiming rebellion against President Nicolas Maduro’s government and urging other troops to join them.
An eyewitness who lives near the Venezuelan military base where troops suppressed an apparent uprising says residents gathered nearby and shouted “freedom!” as the attack was underway.
The person says bursts of gunfire could be heard coming from the base in the central city of Valencia starting around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
Residents began gathering outside after seeing a video circulating on social media in which men dressed in military fatigues announced they were rebelling against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
The men in the video encouraged residents to show support.
The eyewitness spoke to The Associated Press by phone from Valencia and insisted on not being named for fear of possible reprisals.
Venezuelan military officials are describing the short-lived incident as a “terrorist” attack and say seven people have been detained.
Authorities launched tear gas at dozens of protesters outside the base.
— Contributed by Christine Armario in Miami.
Venezuelan ruling party chief Diosdado Cabello says there has been a “terrorist” attack at a military base controlled by troops loyal to the government and several people have been arrested.
Cabello reports via Twitter that troops acted quickly to control the situation at the Paramacay base in the central city of Venezuela.
The announcement came after a small group of men dressed in military fatigues, some armed with assault rifles, released a video declaring themselves in rebellion in Carabobo state, where Valencia is located.
In the video a man identifying himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano said that any unit refusing to go along with its call for rebellion would be declared a military target.