Venezuela’s political violence took an ugly turn Wednesday – the country’s independence day. Pro-government militants stormed the National Assembly and beat opposition lawmakers. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s rebel helicopter cop has reappeared.
Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami appeared inside the National Assembly and urged supporters of President Nicolás Maduro to come to the chamber. Shortly after, government street enforcers known as colectivos burst into the congress and injured more than a dozen people.
Video shows legislators with bloodied faces and blood splattered on the walls of the Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition.
That sort of brutality has made the socialist regime widely reviled as Venezuela’s economy collapses. Polls show more than 80 percent of Venezuelans want Maduro out. That’s provoked massive anti-government protests this year in which 90 people have been killed.
Last week a Venezuelan police officer, Oscar Pérez, flew a police helicopter over the presidential palace and urged Venezuelans to overthrow the regime. Pérez, who is still at large, has now reappeared in a new video – but it’s still uncertain if his rebellion is genuine.
Also Wednesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott said he wants to make sure the state does no business with the Maduro regime.