In the latest sign of unrest against Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s second term in office, a small group of security personnel from Venezuela’s armed forces attempted a midnight mutiny against the president. A group of 25-27 soldiers led by Sergeant Alexander Bandres Figueroa attempted to storm the special security unit headquarters in Caracas at approximately 2:50 a.m. local time. This attempt was broadcast on social media as Figueroa asked Venezuelans to take to the streets in his group’s support.
In the video, Figueroa tells viewers: “Get out on to the streets … It is today. It’s today … People, get out, support us.” “This fight is for you, for Venezuela,” he adds in a second video entitled “Message to the glorious people of Venezuela from part of its patriotic armed forces”.
The video prompted some Venezuelans to pour out into the streets of the city and protest against the Maduro government's mismanagement of economy which has led to an exodus of Venezuelans from the country. Read: Venezuela Renames Currency as 'Sovereign Bolivar' Amid Super-Inflation, Economic Turmoil: Your Top Questions Answered
However, this attempt was soon squashed by the Venezuelan government forces. National Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said the "small group of assailants" had been detained. The minister said the group stole two military vehicles and kidnapped four people but they have been neutralised, subdued and captured, in record time, and are already confessing the details.”
"The Bolivarian National Armed Forces categorically reject these types of acts, that with all certainty, are motivated by dark interests of the extreme right and are contrary to the elemental laws of military discipline, honor and traditions of our institution," Padrino's statement said.
These acts against the Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro are increasing in frequency as opposition against his rule has grown. Maduro’s election victory has been questioned and dismissed by both – his opposition political parties and international observers. Juan Guaidó, an Venezuelan opposition leader who has gained popularity in recent months, called the mutiny by the soldiers as an indication of widespread hostility to Maduro within Venezuela’s armed forces. He called on the military to put itself “on the side of the people, the constitution and against [Maduro’s] usurpation” of power.