Questions about the Venezuelan army's support for President Nicolás Maduro are gaining urgency, after a video posted to social media showed a group of armed men in military uniform claiming to be staging a rebellion against a "murderous tyranny" Sunday. Officials said the rebels, whom they described as "terrorists", were trying to steal weapons and that seven people were detained after the attack on the base.
Brazil is criticizing the removal of Venezuela's chief prosecutor by a newly installed constitutional assembly with almost unlimited authority to govern.
The Constituent Assembly was Maduro's answer to growing popular dissatisfaction with his government.More news: Dubai residents describe screams as flames engulf 79-storey building
Of the video calling for an uprising, NPR's Philip Reeves reports, "the footage shows a man identifying himself as a captain demanding a transitional government and the restoration of constitutional order".
The powerful military in riot-torn Venezuela has sworn "unconditional loyalty" to the leftist government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
"This is not a coup d'etat, this is a civic and military action to restore order But even more so, to save the country from total destruction, to stop the murders of our youth and family".
Oil-rich but economically ailing Venezuela has a long history of instability. Venezuela's socialist party (PSUV) leaded by Hugo Chávez implemented an anti-capitalist revolution ("La Revolución Bolivariana") when it came to power in 1999, and since then the party has destroyed Venezuela's democracy up to the point of emulating totalitarian governments such as Bashar al-Assad's in Syria, Kim Jong-un's in North Korea, and Robert Mugabe's in Zimbabwe.More news: The Daily Telegraph accidentally report the death of Prince Philip
But the top brass continues to publicly profess loyalty to his government. Critics say lucrative government contracts, corruption and contraband mean many military officials want Maduro to stay in power.
Discontent is higher among lower-tier officials, who are often sent to control rowdy protests and are paid just a few dozen US dollars a month. Its leaders are under threat of arrest after organizing protests, fiercely countered by security forces, that have left 125 people dead in the past four months.
"Each step by the Constituent Assembly is a step towards the precipice by this government", the leader of the opposition parliament, Julio Borges, told a news conference in Caracas on Sunday.
One of Maduro's biggest opponents, Attorney General Luisa Ortega, announced late Wednesday she opened an investigation into "scandalous" electoral fraud, alleging the election council manipulated turnout figures on the vote Sunday. When Ortega arrived for work Saturday morning, she was barred from entering.More news: Inter try to end Man United's Ivan Perisic hopes