Thirty military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, national newspaper Ultimas Noticias reported on Monday.“High-level sources” at the presidential palace told reporters that most of those arrested were from the air force, but some were from the national guard, navy and army.
Seven generals were included in the haul.The officers were put under observation after loyal members of the military told the intelligence services that “something strange” was being planned.Ultimas Noticias said the “destabilisation attempt” was planned for March 20, with “air operations and eventual shooting of soldiers and other events planned to cause confusion and clashes.”
The paper also claimed that the officers had been in contact with at least one opposition leader. Julio Borges of failed presidential candidate Henrique Capriles’s Justice First party is rumoured to have met a group of 60 military officials for secret discussions.
Extreme rightwingers have unleashed a violent protest movement in a bid to oust democratically elected Mr Maduro in recent weeks, leaving at least 41 people dead. Protesters have set up barricades in a handful of wealthy areas and attacked supporters of the socialist government.
Talks promoted by the Vatican and regional bloc Unasur were due to resume later yesterday, though the first round failed to find any common ground.
The ruling PSUV also took a moment to remember the 11 people who died in violence after the presidential election one year ago yesterday.
It accused Mr Capriles of inciting the violence.