Caracas, Feb. 16 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – New revelations in Venezuela have linked U.S. private security firm Blackwater, now known as Academi, to the aircraft that was to be used as part of Thursday’s thwarted “Blue Coup” attempt.
The four-stage plan included economic war, an international media offensive against the Venezuelan government, political destabilization fomenting ungovernability, and finally the use of a Super Tucano aircraft to strike “tactical targets” in the capital, such as the Presidential Palace, teleSur, and military intelligence.
The coup was planned for the one-year anniversary of violent opposition protests known as the Guarimba and was to come one day after a public statement by leading opposition leaders calling for a “transition”.
According to U.S. aviation records, the EMB-314B1 or “Super Tucano” aircraft in question was acquired from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer by the firm Blackwater Worldwide in 2008 allegedly for the purpose of pilot training. Registered under the serial number N314TG, the aircraft is, moreover, the only one of its kind sold by the Brazilian firm to a private company.
The Super Tucano is a light, highly agile Brazilian aircraft designed principally for pilot training and counterinsurgency operations. The aircraft has an operational range that extends from the U.S. to any point in Colombia, and has been widely used in Colombian counterinsurgency operations, including in the 2008 assassination of FARC second-in-command Raul Reyes in violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty.
While Venezuela does have its own fleet of 12 Super Tucanos, all aircraft are currently grounded and undergoing major repairs, stated President Nicolas Maduro, whilst offering further evidence regarding the foreign origin of the aircraft.
Blackwater has a checkered human rights record. Several of its contractors have been indicted in U.S. courts for their role in the 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians, and Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for the Nation, has documented the firm’s role in the CIA’s global assassination program.
National Assembly President accuses Canadian and UK officials of involvement
On Friday, National Assembly President, Diosdado Cabello, alleged that officials at the Canadian and British embassies had links to the failed coup attempt, in a new round of revelations surrounding the attempted putsch.
Cabello claimed that a Canadian official by the name of Nancy Birbek was investigating the contingency plans of the Arturo Michelena airport in Valencia.
“On Monday, together with another Canadian embassy official, this woman identified as Nancy Birbeck, was inquiring about the capacities of that same [airport] for special cases. Is this woman asking about the capacities of the airport for cases of contingency?”
The National Assembly President went on to indicate that he also had evidence that an official from the British embassy as well as a staff member of the U.S. embassy charged with overseeing visas had links to the thwarted coup plot.
For his part, President Nicolas Maduro has alleged that the U.S. government is behind the coup, accusing U.S. embassy personnel of attempting to “bribe” Venezuelan armed forces officials. The Venezuelan head of state also claimed that one unnamed U.S. official was responsible for authoring the “script” that was to be publicly broadcast by military officials on the day of the coup claiming that the armed forces had risen up against the government.
In the wake of Thursday’s foiled coup plot, the Bolivarian government of Nicolas Maduro has received a raft of messages of support from regional leaders and civil society organizations alike.
On Saturday, the Latin American Parliament, a regional consultative assembly representing the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, issued a statement condemning the thwarted coup attempt. President of the regional body, Angel Rodriguez, called for a comprehensive investigation by Venezuelan prosecutors and advised Venezuelan citizens to remain “alert” in the face of destabilization efforts by “extremist groups” which he indicated were backed by the United States.
Moreover, the Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Ernesto Samper also rejected the coup attempt and expressed support for President Nicolas via his twitter account.
“UNASUR reiterates its will to find democratic and pacific routes and reiterates its support for President Nicolas Maduro”
The presidents of Bolivia and Nicaragua also joined the chorus voicing solidarity with the government of Nicolas Maduro.
“We all have the obligation to enforce respect of democracy and elections, and if we all have a clear conscience, not even the empire can defeat us,” declared Evo Morales
For his part, Daniel Ortega denounced the “criminal and futile attempts of the Empire toundermine the Bolivarian Revolution.”
From Mexico City, the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity has also issued a statement announcing support for the Venezuelan government and condemning the coup efforts by opposition leaders.
Most recently, the Presidents of the Uruguayan Senate and House of Deputies spoke out on Monday against the thwarted coup and proclaimed their backing of the Bolivarian government of Nicolas Maduro. Brazil’s Landless Movement has also thrown its support behind the Venezuelan government.
Lucas Koerner, journalist in Caracas for Venezuelanalysis.com, discusses what he knows thus far about the foiled coup in Venezuela
New Canadian ambassador in Venezuela is a counter-insurgency specialist