Fugitive Venezuelan Pilot Makes Brazen Public Appearance – New York Times

The helicopter attack

On June 27, a police helicopter swooped down on Caracas and dropped at least one grenade on the Supreme Court building before someone opened fire on the Interior Ministry building.

A banner was unfurled from the helicopter that read “350 Freedom,” a reference to Article 350 of Venezuela’s Constitution, which gives citizens the right to “disown any regime legislation or authority that violates democratic values of the country.”

The government of Mr. Maduro has called the attackers terrorists.

Some experts speculated that the attack might have been a stunt organized by the government to discredit the opposition, but no evidence has been uncovered to support this theory.

Mr. Pérez posted a five-part video manifesto to his Instagram account on the day of the attack, denouncing the government and calling for an uprising. The clips have since been deleted, but a copy can be seen below.

A copy of Óscar Pérez’s video manifesto, uploaded on July 27. Video by Storyful News

“We have two options: to be judged tomorrow by our conscience and the people, or from today to rid ourselves of this corrupt government,” Mr. Pérez said in the video, and he demanded the immediate resignation of Mr. Maduro. “We are warriors of God, and our mission is to live at the service of the people. Viva Venezuela.”

Who is Oscar Pérez?

Mr. Pérez, a trained pilot, was reportedly a member of Venezuela’s intelligence and investigative organization. Posts on his Instagram account, now deleted, showed him sky diving with a German Shepherd strapped to his chest and posing with a rifle. He also starred in a low-budget 2015 movie, “Suspended Death.”

Photo

Óscar Pérez in the 2015 Venezuelan movie “Suspended Death.”

Credit
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Some Venezuelans assumed that Mr. Pérez had fled the country, after the helicopter used in the attack was found near the Caribbean coast, according to the police.

But last week, he reappeared in a video, detailing how he had made an emergency landing in the remote area before returning to Caracas.

In the clip, Mr. Pérez, looking gaunt as he sat in front of a Venezuelan flag with a rifle by his side, warned of a “new phase” of the opposition movement.

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Mr. Pérez spoke out against the Venezuelan government in a video posted online on Wednesday.

Credit
via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Fugitive Venezuelan Pilot Makes Brazen Public Appearance – New York Times