Venezuela remained a powder keg on Sunday as authorities said they had quelled an anti-government paramilitary attack at a military base that led to the deaths of two people, and the country’s attorney general defied her ouster by the newly elected National Constituent Assembly.
A man who identified himself as an army officer announced the revolt on social media, an action he called a “legitimate rebellion” aimed at the government of leftist President Nicolás Maduro.
“We are united now, more than ever, with the brave people of Venezuela who do not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro’s murderous tyranny,” according to a man who said he was Capt. Juan Caguaripano.
The President, speaking on his weekly TV show, “Sundays with Maduro,” made reference to the incident, saying “a week ago, we won with votes and today we had to beat terrorism with bullets.”
“They attack with terrorism and hate. We attack with our work, our love. They destruct, we construct,” he said.
Sunday’s incident came amid daily anxiety in the South American nation, where the economic hardship and bloody political turmoil that had roiled the country for months came to a head last week when the Constituent Assembly was voted into office, taking the place of the opposition-led National Assembly.
Authorities said the early-morning rebellion, which took place at a military base in Valencia, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) west of Caracas, was swiftly contained.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said the attack was carried out by “delinquent civilians wearing military uniforms” in the early morning hours of Sunday, an act he labeled a “terrorist attack of a paramilitary nature.”
Maduro said there were 10 attackers. “Two were killed “by shots fired by those who are loyal to our nation. One is injured. Out of these 10 attackers … nine are civilians and only one is a lieutenant who deserted his post months ago.”
Venezuelan Minister of Communications Ernesto Villegas said seven people have been detained in the “mercenary attack.”