President Maduro announced yesterday he has “dismantled” a new coup attempt against his government.
“We have taken apart [desarticulado] a coup attempt against democracy, against the stability of our fatherland. It was an attempt to use a group of air force officers for a coup,” revealed Maduro.
He added that the plan “by the Venezuelan right and the North American empire,” included the publishing of a manifesto on February 12 calling for a transitory government and an attack with a Tucano type plane Miraflores Palace. Other targets for bombing included the Ministry of Defense and Telesur network facilities. At the same time guarimbas (street barricades protests) would be re-activated by the opposition during the day in several cities.
Maduro accused the “international right” which follows “the basic lines of the School of the Americas, in the Pentagon,” of being the mastermind of the conspiracy.
The plan also included, according to the president, the “economic ambush of January 6, 7 and 8.” The ambush would produce discontent among the people and generate “looting, marches, and then an international debate, a call for a humanitarian force (…) And then, the attack with an armed Tucano plane, this added to the economic, social, political, and military events, the four elements of what they called the ‘perfect storm’.”
Later, in his TV show Con el Mazo Dando, the president of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello, together with the mayor of Caracas Jorge Rodríguez, revealed more details of the conspiracy, which Rodríguez said was code named the “Jericho Operation”.
The two PSUV militants said the targets to be bombed included Miraflores Palace, the public attorney’s offices, the Foreign Ministry, the Supreme High Court, the mayor of Libertador (Caracas) offices, the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Interior.
They also pointed to opposition leader Julio Borges as the person who had “selected these tactical objectives.” According to Diosdado Cabello, Borges and Antonio Ledezma (Mayor of Greater Caracas) were even designing a plan to “physically eliminate” jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López: “Between these two characters, Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, there was a plan to physically eliminate Leopoldo López, and thus generate more chaos, which would facilitate the definite fall of the government and would give Antonio Ledezma the chance to assume the leadership of the opposition.”
Seven air force officers have been arrested in relation to the conspiracy. Ledezma and Borges have not been arrested.