Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government announced that a renegade police detective and part-time action film star Oscar Perez was responsible for firing shots and throwing grenades on the country’s Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court after hijacking a helicopter for the assault.
Interior Minister Nestor Reverol confirmed that he had requested an Interpol alert for 36-year-old Perez’s capture. Maduro, meanwhile, put the military on alert against an alleged coup as it is unclear whether further attacks might be planned. Venezuela has seen three attempted military coups since 1992.
Maduro is struggling to find any public support but blocks the idea of stepping down and calling fresh elections
“We are a coalition of military, police and civilian public servants […] opposed to this transitional, criminal government,” Perez said in a video, implying that the attack on the government buildings would not be isolated incidents. Perez also called on Maduro to resign and for early elections to be held.
Perez has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack on the buildings.
From bluecoat to silver screen
Perez produced and starred in a 2015 Venezuelan action movie called “Suspended Death” in which he was seen performing a number of stunts. He also appeared in several public service videos including one in which a police officer takes a bribe from a driver he has pulled over, only for the driver to later kill the officer’s son.
At the end of that video, Perez is seen looking into the camera, saying “Corruption affects all of us. Denounce it.”
Situation in Venezuela escalating
Four grenades were hurled at the Supreme Court on Tuesday from the stolen helicopter while bullets were fired at the Interior Ministry, according to Maduro. No one was hurt in the incidents, Maduro said.
Perez’ action came during a major national crisis as hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent months calling for an end to Maduro’s presidency, amid food shortages, a collapsing currency and soaring inflation.
ss/sms (Reuters, AFP)