CARACAS – Venezuela’s new foreign minister, Samuel Moncada, denounced on Wednesday the silence of Spain, Italy, the European Union, Argentina, Mexico and Canada after the grenade attack on the Supreme Court, a strike staged from a helicopter allegedly by a mutinous police officer calling for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro.
“Almost 18 hours after the event, we haven’t received the first reaction on the part of the EU countries,” Moncada said at a press conference, adding that the pilot’s actions were “terrorism” and lamenting the fact that Spanish authorities had not “picked up the telephone” to express to the Caracas government their rejection of the deed.
“They’re concerned about human rights, they’re concerned about the fight against terrorism and we still haven’t had the first statement,” added Moncada, who lambasted the several countries he mentioned for their “selectivity” in denouncing the incident and the media for their “criminal complicity.”
“They’re protecting the authors of the deed with their ignorant feigned complicity,” said Moncada, who called the attacker “crazy” and emphasized that the officer had called himself a “warrior of God” in a video posted on his Instagram account in which he demanded – along with four other armed and masked men – Maduro’s resignation.
In his remarks, the foreign minister thanked countries such as Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Turkey and several African governments for the solidarity they had expressed with Venezuela and their condemnation of the attack, which put “innocent civilians” at risk.
According to the minister’s version of events, Oscar Perez, an officer with the air transport division of the country’s national police agency (CICPC), on Tuesday stole a helicopter from that unit and overflew downtown Caracas to fire about 15 shots at the Interior and Justice Ministry building and then flew to the Supreme Court, where he once again opened fire and also dropped four grenades, three of which exploded.
The whereabouts of the pilot are not known, but police have not announced his arrest.
Venezuela is mired in a serious economic, political and social crisis, and for about the past three months, both pro- and anti-government demonstrations – some of them violent – have been almost daily occurrences, leaving at least 76 people dead and more than 1,000 injured.
Opposition activists and many among the general public have been demanding Maduro’s resignation and blaming the government for the nationwide scarcity of food and medicines, as well as accusing the authorities of trampling democracy and human rights.