Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez announced yesterday that the government has “more than 59 hours” of videos and taped conversations between plotters of a coup attempt that would have included the assassination of more than 60 government leaders. President Nicolás Maduro, the government sponsored Constituent Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, and the president of the Supreme Justice Tribunal (TSJ), Maikel Moreno, were mentioned as targets. The coup was planned to take place on June 23 and 24, but was dismantled by the government. Excerpts from the videos were shown by Rodríguez.
Retired General Ramón Antonio Lozada and active General Miguel Sisco Mora, were mentioned by Rodríguez as taking parts in the recorded conversations in which they plotted to, according to the Minister, “assassinate Nicolás Maduro, to permanently follow him, his wife, his children; to assassinate the president of the Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, the president of the TSJ, Maikel Moreno.”
Rodriguez was quick to link the military conspirator to the opposition leadership and its foreign backers: “These are no hypothesis, no speculations, this is evidence and testimonies obtained after months of intelligence gathering and they involve Juan Guaidó and Ivan Duque in these violent events.”
In a twist to the plot, Rodríguez also claimed that the conspirators would not have named Guaido as president after the coup, but instead would have freed General Raúl Baduel from his house arrest and named him as president, “an unequivocal sign that they hate each other,” said Rodríguez of the opposition leadership. Other parts of the plot included stealing military tanks from the La Carlota Air Force base in Caracas, stealing “146 assault rifles” form the vaults of the Venezuelan Central Bank (?), and placing snipers in buildings in downtown Caracas to shoot the people who would come out in support of the government during the coup. Diosdado Cabello has insisted that “Israeli agents” were to be involved in these last parts of the plan.
The Communication Minister said the government would be revealing the full evidence of the plot in the next few days, but also asked “the people” to be on the alert and come to the authorities if they knew anything about this plot.
(Update June 30, 2019)
One of the active officers, navy captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo, detained in relation to the plot, died yesterday under custody of the military counterintelligence police (DGCIM). Relatives who saw him yesterday say he had been severely beaten, could barely talk, and was only able to ask his lawyer for help. Following complains by the lawyer a judge ordered that Acosta Arévalo be taken to a military hospital where he died at 1:00am.
In short statement the Venezuelan government says:
The Bolivarian Government informs the Venezuelan people that, faced with the continuous and sneaky [artera] intention of the enemies of the Constitution and peace, of perpetrating coup d’état attempts, terrorist acts, massacres against the civilian population, arms robbery, and the assassination of the President of the Republic, as well as his near relatives and [other] leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution, State security agencies began months ago the investigation which lead to the dismantling of these criminal plans and the arrest of these self-confessed terrorists. All the investigation was done with absolute respect to due process and to human rights, as is the indispensable condition under our Constitutional State of Justice and Law.
Considering the events which resulted in the death of the citizen Rafael Acosta Arévalo, accused of serious terrorist acts, sedition, and frustrated attempt to assassinate the head of State [magnicidio], [events which took place] during the presentation [of Acosta Arévalo] to the court, the Head of State, President Nicolás Maduro, has asked the Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, for a full and comprehensive investigation to clear [the circumstance of] this regrettable event.