Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro condemned the “terrorists” that broke into the country’s National Guard unit over the weekend and stole dozens of weapons.
According to local media reports, an estimated 49 armed men broke into a military barracks in Miranda state, stole 26 Kalashnikov AK-103 rifles, and over 3,000 rounds of ammunition.
The break-in, referred to as “Operation Genesis,” was reportedly led by the rogue helicopter pilot and former actor Óscar Pérez, who allegedly uploaded footage of what he claims is the operation itself to YouTube.
In the video, men believed to be Pérez and his armed militia are seen detaining and berating Venezuelan soldiers, while smashing photos of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chávez.
“You yourselves are dying of hunger. Why have you not done anything, given you have weapons? Why do you keep protecting these drug-trafficking dictators?” the assailants shout at handcuffed men in military uniforms kneeling on the floor of a bathroom.
“Soon we’ll win the war … so that Venezuela can be free,” Pérez declares.
In the text accompanying the video, the man claiming to be Pérez thanks God for the operation’s success and describes the operation as a chance to rearm the Venezuelan people:
God and Jesus Christ gave us the victory of Operation Genesis, an impeccable tactical operation where we continue to recover the weapons of the people and for the people.
We legitimately accept article 333 and 350 of the National Constitution and call on the armed forces to also enforce same Magna Carta of Article 328, in order to restore the legal order of our nation and establish a dignified transitional government that allows the moral and economic reconstruction of our country.
In June, Pérez attracted international attention after flying a stolen police helicopter close to the country’s supreme court building as his fellow passenger fired several times at the building and dropped multiple grenades before flying out of the area.
“We have two choices: be judged tomorrow by our conscience and the people or begin today to free ourselves from this corrupt government,” he said in a video after the incident, which some suspected was a hoax.
A week later, Párez uploaded another video warning against the government’s plans to create a “constituent assembly,” an illegal lawmaking body that usurped the power of elected lawmakers and replaced it with pro-government cronies, effectively rendering the country into a dictatorship.
“Once again, we are in Caracas, ready and willing to continue our struggle for the liberation of our country,” Pérez said in a video filmed in front of a Venezuelan flag. “We are fully sure of what we are doing and if we must give up our lives, we will hand them over to the people. If this constituent assembly takes place, there will be no Venezuela.”