Venezuela's government probably lying about that military raid in Valencia: experts
For a while there, it seemed believable: one of them inside Venezuela's military finally got fed up enough to attempt a coup by raiding a well fortified military base for weapons in the socialist dictatorship. The raid on the Valencia military base then failed; the military's loyalty to the Chavista regime held; the Cubans used their secret police powers, perhaps; and the bad guys got captured. Since then, all is back to normal, the government claims. Nothing to see here; move along.
But not so fast. There are experts from Venezuela who think none of this is quite what the government is claiming. Javier Nieto, a former military office now in exile, who is often a "go-to" guy on Venezuelan military affairs, is skeptical in this NTN24 Colombian television interview in Spanish, stating:
- A group made up of a combination of active duty military, reserves and retired military captured the garrison of the 41st Armored Brigade located at Fort Paramacay, near Valencia. This is considered a highly secure military post staffed by what are considered elite units.
- Nieto is of the opinion that the military objective was accomplished – namely, to capture a well fortified military base and to cart off with a sizeable amount of weaponry.
- Nieto stated that the political objective of this operation, called "Operación David Carabobo" in honor of the state of Carabobo, where the operation took place, and the biblical David who slew Goliath, was to demonstrate to the government that the military are not with them.
- Nieto stated that this tactical success fits in with a more general strategic objective.
- When asked about reports that seven had been captured, Nieto said any information coming from the government lacks credibility and tends to follow a script written by the Castro-communist Cubans.
- Nieto prudently refused to give any hints as to what phases come next.
- The government carefully crafts its words and avoids using the phrase "military rebellion" and chooses to say things like "terrorists" and "paramilitaries."
- Nieto says that rather than a rebellion, this is a rescue of the "constitutional thread."
A former Venezuelan defense minister is skeptical, too. A source emails, with a link to another interview, this one on CNN en Español, now available on YouTube with this summary:
Retired General Raúl Salazar, Defense Minister for a short time in 1999 under Hugo Chávez, was interviewed by CNN en Español. Salazar is skeptical as to the authenticity of the so-called rebellion. He suspects this might be a ploy by the government to create a distraction and establish a doubtful mindset such as wondering "who is who" or "where do they stand," as a way to prolong their time in power. He considers this lust for power to a be an illness of sorts. He is of the opinion that the idea of the Constituent Assembly is simply a strategy for staying in power that much longer. When asked if this was a staged "show" he said that "anything is possible" under this regime.
This interview overlaps with that of Rocío San Miguel. She states that it is highly irregular and ambiguous that having been accused of conspiracy in 2014 and having an outstanding warrant for his arrest, Caguaripano was allowed to remain free and ambiguously still a member of the National Guard. Also, she finds it peculiar that the SEBIN (political police), a civilian unit, was called in to handle the situation of this "rebellion" that was of a military nature.
This one here is worth heeding, too.
From Miami, retired Admiral Ivan Carratú Molina, states that there are many military posts that are aligned with this rebellion. He is highly critical of what he considers to be treasonous elements within the opposition coalition known as the MUD. He claims that these opportunistic politicians, read that to be Henry Ramos Allup, and members of the business community who are stakeholders in the current regime. He says that they have been serious detractors from action that would otherwise be taken by what he considers to be the majority of the military. He also says to beware of disinformation coming from the government (and the MUD). He says the good military need the support of the civilian population, the idea being "we're all in this together."
Exiled General Antonio Rivera vouches for Caguaripano and states that he has been in contact with Caguaripano and have shared plans. Antonio Rivera seems to be an honest human being who bailed out a few years ago.
With this the consensus so far: it seems pretty clear that these are far from peaceful times in the Venezuelan military, and nothing the government claims is believable. It's also known that there has been an actual resistance movement outside the military likely gaining strength. The takeaway here is that we should be hearing of more military raids and whatever follows from a newly armed fighting force that has its sights on the detested socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro.