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crisis in venezuela

Venezuela reported a 'terrorist' attack, but it may have been a coup attempt

A Venezuelan military base was subject to a "terrorist" attack late Saturday night, said Diosdado Cabello, head of Venezuela's ruling party and a loyalist of the deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro.

However, video posted on social media before the incident suggests it may have been a coup attempt instead, as the clip shows members of a Venezuelan army unit demanding "the immediate formation of a transition government." "This is not a coup d'etat," the speaker says. "This is a civic and military action to re-establish constitutional order. But more than that, it is to save the country from total destruction."

Meanwhile, Venezuela's new Constitutional Assembly on Saturday ousted the nation's top prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, sending guards in riot gear to keep her from her office. Ortega, a Maduro critic, was replaced by one of his supporters.

The Constitutional Assembly was created a week ago under a Maduro proposal to dissolve the country's former legislature, which was dominated by his opposition. The vote that installed the new legislature is under investigation, as independent polling suggests the Maduro government massively inflated turnout numbers and rigged the election in its favor.

All this political unrest comes as Venezuela continues to suffer a major economic crisis under Maduro's regime; food shortages are serious and inflation is high. Read The Week's explanation of the country's descent into chaos.