Claiming to be primed for civil war, a Venezuelan general issued orders to prepare for the future use of snipers against anti-government protesters, according to a secret recording of a regional command meeting held three weeks ago at a military base in the northwestern Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto, reports the Miami Herald.
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The audio, which was obtained by the Herald from a Washington source that has provided information on Venezuela for previous stories, the general discusses the potential legal and physical risks of using snipers during the massive demonstrations against Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro.
Acording to the Herald, Venezuelan Division General José Rafael Torrealba Pérez is the man who is heard on the recording, can be heard saying: “Begin to make preparations with those individuals that can serve as snipers, beginning with psychological and aptitude tests…”
He continued, ““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.”
“He [Maduro] has already signed a range of operations and as I said here [previously] … we could be at the beginning of a subversive urban war,” the General concluded.
The recording of Torrealba’s voice matches the one appearing in videos of his public speeches available on YouTube. His voice also was identified by the Washington source that supplied the tape to el Nuevo Herald, reports the Herald.
The military, however, insists publicly that it is not using lethal force against demonstrators, a claim that was repeated on Wednesday by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, said the Herald.