In Wake of Chopper 'Attack,' Questions, Intrigue

Ringleader Oscar Perez has vanished; many now think stunt was directed by Maduro
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2017 5:33 AM CDT
In Wake of Chopper 'Attack,' Questions, Fascination
Oscar Perez has been dubbed the Venezuelan "Rambo."   (Instagram)

Authorities in Venezuela are hunting for the police commando who led Tuesday's daring helicopter attack on the capital that has left the country stumped. The Wall Street Journal reports that questions are flying after Oscar Perez, the wayward cop and part-time action movie star allegedly behind the plot, managed to vanish after hijacking the chopper and dropping grenades and pro-rebellion propaganda. The chopper was found on Wednesday in a jungle outside Caracas, but there was no trace of Perez or the others. Embattled President Nicolas Maduro ordered a security crackdown, as puzzled Venezuelans scoured social media for clues to what exactly happened. Some wondered if the scandal-tainted government staged the brazen scheme in an effort to curtail daily, paralyzing demonstrations that have destabilized the government, per the New York Times.

Protesters who initially cheered a rogue band of cops presumably opposed to Maduro later weren't so sure. "I wanted it to be true," one witness tells the Times. "But I had to ask myself if this had all been staged or wasn’t coming from the government." Most Venezuelans "don't know what to make of it," one analyst says. Maduro blamed "terrorists," and officials insisted the plot was real, engineered by the CIA and retired Gen. Miguel Rodriguez Torres, a Maduro critic. Torres called the attack that left no injuries a "stupid montage," per the Journal. He questioned how the chopper could buzz the city for so long—CNN reports it lasted about two hours—without being shot down. Perez starred in the 2015 movie Suspended Death, in which he jumps out of a police chopper and shoots Colombian gangsters, per the Journal. He claims no political affiliation on Instagram, notes Euronews. (More Venezuela stories.)

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