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Venezuelan General: Snipers Must be Used Against Protesters

“It will only be us [the military] that pulls through because…once people start to see dead bodies, and dead bodies begin to appear, then everyone will begin to stay at home…”

That was what was said by the general in charge of Nicolas Maduro’s armed forces in Venezuela, caught in a secret recording of his regional command meeting and discussing the use of snipers against  the unarmed people. This is the same military that only a few weeks ago made a decision to ram military-styled armored SUVs into crowds of unarmed protesters and then proceed to reverse back over the unfortunate few who were not able to get out from beneath the vehicle.

The Venezuelan government is about to embark on a journey that could set a point of no return for Nicolas Maduro and his Army Division General Jose Rfael Torrealba Perez. The military commander was leading a meeting of the regional command where he was issuing orders to his officers to prepare to use snipers against anti-government protesters.

Despite Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez issuing a statement that they are not using lethal weapons, evidence is mounting against the clarity of that statement.

“We don’t use lethal firearms.  There are no rifles, handguns or machine guns…”

That would usually be the end of the controversy, except for the fact that the general’s comments inside the regional command’s meeting was recorded secretly and leaked to the Miami Herald’s Spanish-language newspaper. El Nuevo Herald. After his voice was positively identified by comparing to earlier recorded sessions of the general’s speeches, the translations began and were chilling.

“Begin to make preparations with those individuals that can serve as snipers, beginning with psychological and aptitude tests…There will come a time when we will have to employ them [the snipers] and I want us to be ready for the moment that we have to employ them because the president will not remain at a green [preparation] phase, gentlemen.”

Torrealba is purportedly referencing the Zamora Plan, a Venezuelan military strategy meant to be activated in the midst of an imminent foreign invasion.

While one unnamed military leader objects to the use of snipers – arguing that if the marksmen are put on the street “all of us here will end up in jail” and adding that if a photograph of a sniper is taken the “media war is going to kill us” – it appears he was the only one in attendance to voice a dissenting opinion.

Skirmishes have been breaking out across the country. Crowds are smashing shops and offices in San Cristobal, the state capital and elsewhere. In other areas, the Bolivarian National Guard and its head, Major General Benavides Torres,  are being called out as the ones responsible for 4 deaths that took place earlier.

Six weeks of anti-government unrest have resulted in at least 45 deaths, as well as hundreds of injuries and arrests in the worst turmoil of President Nicolas Maduro’s four-year rule of the OPEC-member country.

Protesters are demanding elections to kick out the socialist government that they accuse of wrecking the economy and turning Venezuela into a dictatorship.  Maduro, 54, the successor to late leader Hugo Chavez, says his foes are seeking a violent coup.

In light of this, Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos has called the Trump administration’s action of instituting sanctions against eight Venezuelan government officials on the nation’s Supreme Court praiseworthy as it will help the people in their efforts “to protect and advance democratic governance.”

“The stable and peaceful Venezuela is in the best interest of the entire hemisphere, and America stands with all of the people in our great hemisphere yearning to be free,” Trump said. “It is a very, very horrible problem. And from a humanitarian standpoint, it is like nothing we’ve seen in quite a long time.”

For now, the world is aware of the General Torrealba-Perez’s intentions. Hopefully, the leak of the audio has changed the situation where cooler heads can prevail.