Venezuela says it uncovered new coup attempt

Hugo Chávez

Hugo Chávez

Venezuela has announced the arrest of five active duty soldiers whom it accuses of conspiring to storm the presidential palace and overthrow the government. The news was revealed on Wednesday by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The President said the country’s General Counterintelligence Office apprehended the soldiers, after intercepting messages they exchanged with “a soldier on the run in the US [and] protected by the US government”. The soldiers were allegedly conspiring to storm the Palacio de Miraflores, which houses the office of the President, under an operation codenamed “Operativo Independencia”. Interestingly, “Operativo Independencia” was the codename for the 1975 assault by the Argentine military on the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP) in Tucumán Province, which essentially launched the country’s eight-year “Dirty War”. Upon apprehending the soldiers, Venezuelan counterintelligence agents searched houses and apartments in Valencia (62 miles southeast of capital Caracas), where they reportedly recovered a number of rocket launchers, as well as rocket-propelled grenades and C4 explosives. The arrestees had apparently communicated details of the operation to several other military officers located in states dominated by the Venezuelan opposition. Information has emerged that several of these officers have been “interrogated and placed under arrest”. The coup allegation came just four days ahead of a national referendum this coming Sunday, which seeks to lift term limits for elected officials, including the President. News on the alleged coup plot has been reported by French press agency AFP, but has yet to appear on any mainstream information outlet in the United States. It is worth considering whether US intelligence agencies have a role in the alleged plot, and whether the suspected US factor in “Operativo Independencia” –if factual– has been approved by US President Barack Obama.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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