Maduro vows severe punishment to generals for ‘plotting coup’

March 27, 2014 | By | Reply More

Mar 27, – On Tuesday, the Venezuelan president made the surprise announcement of the capture of the three air force officials at a meeting with members of a fact-finding mission from Union of South American Nations (Unasur), which traveled to Venezuela to investigate the ongoing social unrest. Without offering details, he said that the generals were immediately turned over to a military tribunal.

hromedia Maduro vows severe punishment to generals for 'plotting coup'intl. news2Two days after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced the arrests of three air force generals for reportedly plotting to overthrow his government, some sectors have begun to cast doubts as to whether such a conspiracy actually existed.

“I have ordered a complete investigation,” he said. “If the evidence we have is true, I am going to apply the law in the strictest manner against those involved, in the name of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.” Nevertheless, just moments prior he admitted that he would be “the first to say he is happy” if the generals were acquitted.

The names of the three men have not been released but the Caracas daily Últimas Noticias identified them as Oswaldo Hernández Sánchez, the head of an air force division who was reportedly the leader of the plot, and brigadier generals Carlos Alberto Millán Yaguaracuto and José Daniel Machillanda Díaz.

Lawyer Rocío San Miguel, the director of the NGO Citizens Control, said she was not permitted to see the detained men on Monday night at the military intelligence division in Caracas, even though she was kept waiting for about 30 minutes.

But San Miguel did confirm that the generals were not turned over to a military tribunal as the president originally said. Under the Constitution the officers must be given a pre-trial hearing by the Supreme Court before they can be put on trial. The president corrected his earlier statement and affirmed that the three were still under investigation.

Many sectors began to question the real motives behind their arrests. Doubts also surfaced on whether the three were actually capable of leading a coup. Military analysts maintain that the air force doesn’t have the power to carry out an overthrow without the army’s support.

In April 2002, the general and admirals who led a brief coup against Chávez didn’t have full control of army troops. After businessman Pedro Carmona, who assumed the presidency, dissolved the public institutions by decree, the coup was put down by the troops loyal to Chávez. Carmona and the military leaders went into exile.

“Despite the incident, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces remain monolithic, and nothing will go against our democratic convictions,” the military said in a statement after the arrests.

Lawyer San Miguel cannot explain why the three were detained. They had been promoted by the late Chávez upon recommendations and were considered loyal supporters.

Press journalist for HRO media – Norberto Lluch contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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