As Faithwire has reported, Venezuela has been in dire straits for much of the last year as socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his government have repeatedly tried to silence opposition and the working class through long bouts of starvation and limited availability of medical supplies. All the while, the national opposition has called for more and more anti-government protests that often result in violence. To escape the horror, thousands have taken their lives into their own hands, embarking on dangerous boat trips or walking on foot out of the country.
In yet another act of defiance, the BBC is reporting that a helicopter attacked Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, dropping four grenades on firing shots. A rogue police officer by the name of Oscar Pérez is allegedly behind the incident, having posted on social media that he piloted the stolen helicopter to target what he refers to as the country’s “criminal government.” His whereabouts are currently unknown, but Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said the military had been deployed to apprehend the pilot.
Watch video of the incident HERE.
According to the BBC, those opposed to the Maduro and his regime see the Supreme Court as one his primary supporters—meaning an attack on the court is an attack on the president. While no injuries were reported, Maduro called the bombing a “terrorist” incident.
“I have activated the entire armed forces to defend the peace,” the president declared during an appearance on state television. “And you can be assured that sooner or later, we are going to capture that helicopter and those that carried out this terror attack against the institutions of the country.”
Little is known about the man piloting the stolen chopper, but the state-run Venezuelan TV found pictures of Pérez posing in front of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Maduro and his supporters blame the U.S. for the country’s current political and economic crisis.
In a video posted on Instagram, meanwhile, a man claiming to be Pérez encourages Venezuelans to oppose “tyranny,” while being flanked by masked militiamen.
“We are a coalition of military employees, policemen and civilians who are looking for balance and are against this criminal government,” he said. “We don’t belong to any political tendency or party. We are nationalists, patriots and institutionalists.”
While it is not clear how the people of Venezuela feel about Pérez’s actions, the BBC reports that the opposition is speculating Maduro and his cronies may have staged the helicopter attack “in order to justify a further crackdown on dissent.”