Maduro claimed that the presently unidentified assailant was “an agent from the country’s intelligence unit” who stole the helicopter in an attempt to undermine the government. According to Reuters, the helicopter fired 15 shots on the Interior Ministry building and allegedly four grenades were launched on the court building; no injuries were reported at either building.
Videos of the commandeered helicopter have appeared across social media:
The helicopter appears to display a banner which reads “Liberty. Article 350,” referencing Venezuelan citizens’ ability to declare themselves in disobedience to a government it deems an affront to human rights.
Labeling the incident as an act of terrorism, Maduro called on his supporters to “activate a new phase in the revolution” just hours after he declared that his supporters would be willing to “go to combat” in support of the government.
“We would never give up. And what couldn’t be done with votes, we would do it with weapons. We would liberate our fatherland with arms,” Maduro said at a rally on Tuesday morning.
The attacker’s identity remains unclear. According to CNN, a man named Oscar Perez claimed responsibility for the attack in a video posted to social media. In the message, Perez allegedly declared himself “in opposition” to Maduro’s government and demanded the president step down.