CARACAS -- “Wanted” reads the poster in black letters over a yellow background. “Oscar Alberto Perez”, Venezuelan ID number 15.948.499, for the crime of “terrorist attempt against state-owned installations”.
And just who is Oscar Perez? He is a police inspector, pilot and action movie actor who claimed a bloodless (but spectacular and well-publicized) helicopter attack on the Venezuelan Supreme Court and other government buildings on June 27th.
The government said that attack was real, with Maduro denouncing it as a terrorist act and a coup attempt. However, the grenades did not explode and no arrests were made.
After his June 27th exploits, Perez posted a video to his Instagram page, denouncing Maduro’s administration and saying “a coalition” of military and police officers were actively trying to unseat him. And on Thursday social media exploded, again, with at least two new videos from Perez.
He claimed that Maduro is no longer living in the Miraflores Presidential palace but inside Fuerte Tiuna, the country’s largest military base and home to the Ministry of Defense and promised to go after the pro-government gangs known as “colectivos”, which are being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office for being behind the deaths of anti-Maduro demonstrators.
As “Oscar Perez” became the top trending topic in Venezuelan Twitter (again) Thursday, cops from his own old law enforcement agency, CICPC, pasted wanted posters of him in Caracas, Maracaibo and other large Venezuelan cities, to the amusement and visible grins of passersby.
The “Old West” move by CICPC, plastering the city with ”Se Busca” posters of a fugitive, is unusual in Venezuelan law-enforcement history.
Some in Caracas still think he is not “for real” but rogue policeman (and movie actor) Oscar Perez has entered the national consciousness and has now become to the Maduro administration what the terrorist “V” was to Premier Sutler in the cult movie “V for Vendetta”: an elusive nemesis that is a bit of a joke (so far), but still manages to ridicule the unpopular ruler, thus capturing the spotlight.
Oh, and Miss Venezuela 2011, Irene Esser, posted her own press release about her “relationship” with Perez: there is none, the beauty queen said, before admitting that, yes, there are pictures of the two together, but those were from the shooting of one of Perez’s two movies, “Ivana”, which is now in post-production, Esser added. Perez was a consultant in the movie, which centers on a female rogue soldier.
As to Perez’s recent actions, Esser said: “I am not and will not be in agreement with any violent manifestations in my country.”