Caracas, Aug 6 (EFE).- At least one man was killed and another seriously wounded Sunday in the attack on the 41st Armored Brigade at Fort Paramacay in the north-central Venezuelan city of Valencia, army commander Maj. Gen. Jesus Suarez Chourio said.
The “terrorist, paramilitary, mercenary (attack) paid for by the right and its collaborators, paid for by the North American empire, and they are under arrest, and one of them was downed and another was seriously wounded,” Suarez Chourio said.
“A group of paramilitaries took advantage of the current situation, but they were immediately repelled, they were defeated and we are celebrating the fatherland’s triumph,” the army chief said.
An army captain said in a video released Sunday that he was leading an uprising against President Nicolas Maduro’s administration “to restore the constitutional order.”
The video shows about 20 armed men in military uniforms accompanying a spokesman who identifies himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano and claims to be the “commander of Operation David Carabobo.”
The officer goes on to say that he was “in rebellion” against “Nicolas Maduro’s murderous tyranny,” adding that the action was not “a coup d’etat.”
The rebellion is backed by other officers, active troops and reserves from “all the components” of the armed forces, as well as police, all “courageous men and women who love freedom” and are united “more than ever with the people of Venezuela,” Caguaripano said.
Diosdado Cabello, a former Cabinet officer and member of the recently elected National Constituent Assembly, said in a Twitter post that the rebellion was put down by another group of soldiers at Fort Paramacay, a military base in the north-central state of Carabobo.
Adm. Remigio Ceballos, head of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command, said later that at least seven of the individuals involved in the uprising were under arrest, but that officials were awaiting further information.
Sources close to the armed forces told EFE that some of the men involved in the uprising were soldiers and others civilians wearing military uniforms.
Caguaripano has not been an active military officer since 2014, sources told EFE.
Dozens of residents of the area around Fort Paramacay took to the streets to express support for the soldiers who participated in the uprising.
The Bolivarian National Armed Forces said in a statement that the opposition was behind the attack, blaming “civilian criminals wearing military clothing” for the incident.
The uprising comes a week after an election was held for the National Constituent Assembly, a body created by Maduro to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution.
Maduro contends that the assembly is necessary to restore order in oil-rich Venezuela, which has been racked by near-daily protests and a deep economic crisis, but the president’s opponents say it is merely a cynical ploy to buy time until elections scheduled for October 2018.
On Saturday, the constitutional assembly voted in its opening session to remove the attorney general from office and replace her with the national ombudsman.
Luisa Ortega Diaz, who in recent months had been outspoken in her criticism of Maduro and the Supreme Court, was replaced by Tarek William Saab, who became the first official to be appointed by the new plenipotentiary body, which is tasked with revising the nation’s 1998 constitution.
Ortega Diaz also was barred from holding any public office.
The vote was held after the Supreme Court notified the Constituent Assembly that it had found grounds to put Ortega Diaz on trial for dereliction of duty, bar her from holding public office and leaving the country and freeze her assets. Ortega Diaz said Sunday that the assembly was “illegitimate” and she would not relinquish her post as attorney general.
“Based on an order that was given by the executive, they proceeded to remove the attorney general in an illegitimate manner, (but) I do not recognize that removal, I continue to be the attorney general of this country,” Ortega Diaz told reporters during the “Defense of the Constitution” event.
Ortega Diaz, a former ally of Maduro’s, turned against her boss earlier this year when the Supreme Court assumed the remaining powers of Venezuela’s unicameral legislature, the National Assembly (the legislature had previously been stripped of its budgetary authority).
The high court said the National Assembly was in contempt for seating lawmakers accused of electoral fraud in a bid to create a super-majority.
Although that ruling was later reversed, Ortega Diaz has continued to speak out against Maduro, accusing him of using the Constitutent Assembly to install a “totalitarian system.”
On Friday, Maduro accused Ortega Diaz’s office of complicity with an “armed insurgency” in Venezuela, which has been racked by violent anti-government protests since April 1 that have left 121 dead, nearly 2,000 injured and 5,000 arrested