‘Venezuela forces raid house in bid to capture ‘Rambo’ helicopter pilot’

Óscar Alberto Pérez (7 April 1981 – 15 January 2018) was a Venezuelan actor and CICPC investigator, Venezuela’s investigative agency. He is better known for being responsible for the 2017 Caracas helicopter attack during the 2017 Venezuelan protests and the 2017 Venezuelan constitutional crisis.

2017 Caracas helicopter attack

“There was no collateral damage because it was planned and because we are not murderers like you, Mr. Nicolás Maduro, as well as you, Diosdado Cabello, they mourn every day in Venezuelan homes.” Oscar Pérez.
During the 2017 Venezuelan protests and the 2017 Venezuelan constitutional crisis, in the afternoon of 27 June 2017, a video was released showing men with assault rifles flanking Óscar Pérez, stating that “We are nationalists, patriots and institutionalists. This fight is not with the rest of the state forces, it is against the tyranny of this government”. Pérez, a CICPC investigator and helicopter pilot of nearly 20 years had recently become an actor in 2015. Hours after the video was released, Pérez was seen piloting a CICPC helicopter over the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with a banner on the side reading “350 Liberty”, a reference to Article 350 of the constitution which states that “The people of Venezuela … shall disown any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values, principles and guarantees or encroaches upon human rights”. While the helicopter was near the Supreme Court, gunfire was heard in the area. President Maduro stated that a military rebellion had occurred while opposition officials said that the actions were staged so Maduro could justify a crackdown on those who oppose his government and the constituent assembly.

Second appearance
On 7 July, Venezuelan authorities arrested three citizens on Caracas’ streets who were alleged linked to Pérez. A week later on 13 July, Pérez appeared at a protest in Altamira, denouncing colectivo confrontations with the National Assembly and stating that the Bolivarian government knew who was responsible for the attacks. He also shared his support for the Venezuelan National Consultation, 2017 and stated that he would continue his plans, explaining that a “Zero Hour” is to occur on 18 July while calling for all Venezuelans to protest that day to a point of no return, saying “it’s time for this narco-government to collapse”.

On 23 November 2017 Pérez appeared on an internet video. He sat beside a man who criticized the corrutpion of the Bolivarian government. As the video concluded, Pérez shared his only words, calling for renewed protests by the Venezuelan people, stating “the generals without troops are nobody”.

National Guard barracks operation
On 18 December, Oscar Pérez stole 26 rifles and 3 automatic pistols from a Command of the National Guard in Los Teques, Miranda state, gagging and tying up the National Guardsmen.

Death
On 15 January 2018, the Venezuelan army and the Venezuelan National Guard launched an operation to capture Óscar Pérez, who was holed up in the western Caracas neighborhood of El Junquito. Pérez resisted the attack and posted a video on the Internet showing his face covered in blood while claiming that he attempted to negotiate his surrender, but according to him, the police had not stopped shooting at his group. After three hours of shooting, Pérez was shot dead along with his men. His death was confirmed by the Venezuelan police one day later.

Aftermath
His killing was met with outrage from the Venezuelan people, both in real life and on social media. The hashtag “#Oscarperezheroedelpueblo” became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, with many people regarding Perez as a hero. Some venezuelans went as far as comparing Perez with other famous Venezuelan and Latin American heroes & revolutionary figures like Simon Bolívar,Túpac Amaru II and Ernesto Che Guevara. Some leading opposition figures like Maria Corina Machado, Antonio Ledezma and Luisa Ortega Díaz condemned his assassination.

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