On May 10, Tareck El Aissami, Executive Vice-President of Venezuela, announced to the press that one of the armed cells has been neutralized and dismantled, and its leaders arrested. The cell had been detected by the Venezuelan services of intelligence in the city of Caracas, operating under the direction of certain actors of the Venezuelan ultra-Right, including members of the so-called Table of Democratic Unity, the coalition political parties of the opposition. Government security agents had been surveilling the cell, with the authorization of the courts. The government presented evidence to the press, including surveillance videos, telephone recordings, automatic rifles and grenades. According to El Aissami, the evidence shows that “it is not a matter of spontaneous and peaceful protests but of armed cells that have been operating in a planned and organized manner, and with logistical support, in order to generate the terrorist violence with which we have lived during these weeks, primarily in Caracas and in the Miranda State, and that has sent dozens of homes in Venezuela into mourning.” He noted that this particular cell had received training in urban insurrection, and it had contracted criminal bands in Caracas to assault and loot commercial establishments and to generate nighttime criminal violence. It had been recruiting youths from five states in the country. It had developed plans to attack a military barracks and an air base, with the purpose of generating an international commotion by giving the impression of a military uprising in the country, he declared. He appealed to youth who might be inclined to be influenced by leaders of such cells, advising them that such extreme political elements praise you today, but if they were to attain their goals, they would forget you, for they are dedicated not to the nation but to foreign interests.
Francisco Ameliach, Governor of Carabobo, views the strategy of the opposition as a psychological war. It foments economic and political destabilization, seeking to create discontent, with the intention of manipulating the people into blaming the government and turning against it. As former CIA Director Allen Dulles once explained, it is a matter of manipulating consciousness and usurping the collective imagination.
Hugo Chávez believed that opposition that uses such strategies are not true leaders, for they are not guided by a sense of morality that includes commitment to the good of the nation. Accordingly, they are incapable of formulating a programmatic platform for the future of the nation. They are capable only of disruption and manipulation. That is why the opposition in Venezuela is not seeking to take power through the formulation of an alternative political program, but is seeking to generate the conditions for a pretext to foreign intervention that would take power through military means, and delegate power to these who are disposed to govern in its interests. The Venezuelan opposition and their international allies seek to restore power to the elites, bringing to an end the Bolivarian Revolution that took power in defense of the people.
In response to the campaign of violence, President Nicalás Maduro has convoked a Constitutional Assembly, which we will discuss in a subsequent post.