The political unrest in Venezuela has taken a severe turn.
On Tuesday, June 27, a police helicopter attacked the Venezuelan Supreme Court building as a way to undermine President Maduro’s totalitarian government. The helicopter was stolen and piloted by an officer in the Venezuelan investigative police force, Oscar Perez.
Before stealing the aircraft, Perez released a video online explaining that he was staging an operation to “seize democracy back from Venezuela’s criminal government,” as reported on CNN. The video shows Perez reading from a script surrounded by armed men in military uniforms and wearing balaclavas.
In his speech, Perez claimed that he was speaking for all the oppressed military, police officers, and civil officials that have had to endure President Maduro’s totalitarian regime within the past few years. Explaining that he was a trained pilot from the special response unit of Venezuela’s Criminal Investigative Police (CICPC), Perez urged Maduro to step down. In his speech, he stated:
“On this day, we are carrying out a deployment by air and land with the sole purpose to return the democratic power to the people and to ensure the laws to establish constitutional order.”
The attack comes in the days following an executive Supreme Court order that allows President Maduro to make changes to the constitution that would give his political party more ruling power.
Perez and his team, who have remained unidentified, went on to steal a CICPC helicopter and launch grenades and gunshots at the Supreme Court building during the middle of the day. However, their attempts were for naught — no one was injured and one of their grenades didn’t explode.
While there are more than 2,100 air charter operators in the U.S., aircraft in Venezuela is strictly limited by the government and typically only civil servants have access. This gave Perez the best opportunity to take advantage, and his training seemingly helped him get away with the attack, as the rogue police helicopter was able to sustain their attack for more than two hours without being shot down.
Perez and his team have yet to be found, and there is no word on the whereabouts of the stolen helicopter.
Even though the group may be hidden, their message is not as pictures are swirling around online of one of the assailants holding a banner exclaiming “Article 350 Libertad,” which refers to an article of the country’s constitution that allows citizens to oppose the government if it strays from its democratic principles.
In response to the attack, President Maduro publically shamed the terrorists and announced an operation to track the assailants down.