By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday afternoon he would achieve with weapons what he can’t achieve with votes, as violent protests against him continue in several parts of the country, including near the Miraflores Presidential Palace.
This is Maduro, on the 87th day of continuous, deadly demonstrations against him:
“I aspire that the world will listen after 90 days of violence, of destruction and death. If Venezuela was to be plunged in chaos and violence and the Bolivarian revolution to be destroyed, we would march into combat. We would never surrender and what we could not do with votes we would do with weapons. We would free our country with weapons.”
Thus spoke Maduro during a public event to promote the Constituent Assembly, with which he hopes to write a new Venezuelan Constitution, a project that has not garnered popular support, according to all available polls.
Hours after Maduro spoke about freeing the nation with weapons, "colectivos" -- armed government supplied motorcycle gangs -- attacked the National Assembly, three blocks from Miraflores, as National Guard watched and did nothing to protect the lawmakers nor the historic building.
Later a police chopper flew over the Palace, the Supreme Court and other sections of Caracas carrying a banner with an anti-Maduro message : “350 right now, freedom”, meaning Article 350 of the Venezuelan Constitution should be activated, requiring all citizens to disobey commands from any authority that contradict the Magna Carta. Maduro said that it was dropping hand grenades at the Supreme Court.
The helicopter’s pilot, police inspector Oscar Perez, took to Instagram in several short videos where he asked that Maduro resign and said he was part of a “coalition” of police, military and other government officials and promised to go after pro-Maduro “colectivo” gangs, which are being investigated by the Attorney General’s office for their involvement in the deaths of demostrators.
“We have two choices,” a man who identified himself as Oscar Perez, tactical operator and pilot for the CICPC in his profile, says. “We can be tried tomorrow, by our own consciences and by the people. Or, starting today, free ourselves from this corrupt government.”
“We are God’s warriors and our mission is to live at the service of the people. Viva Venezuela!” Perez says, backed by four hooded men, armed with assault rifles and wearing black and camouflage fatigues.
Anti-Maduro protests continue in Los Ruices, Eastern Caracas, according to neighbors as well as in other parts of Venezuela, according to social and local media.