The director of the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia (SEBIN), General Gustavo González López has accused Carlos Ocariz, the mayor of Sucre Municipality, which includes the populous barrio of Petare in Caracas, of “promoting terrorist attacks against the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.” Ocariz is a leader of the opposition party Primero Justicia and is also the chief of the opposition campaign for the recall referendum against Maduro.
On Sunday, October 2, two men drove a motorcycle up to the entrance of a Bolivarian National Guard post in Petare and threw a hand grenade at the post. Sixteen people were injured, including two children.
Early police investigations treated the event as vengeance attack by a band of bachaqueros (illegal street vendors) for the arrest of some of its members, but now General González López has a different version of the incident which involves the opposition leadership.
González López declared on national television Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) that the SEBIN has captured the two men directly responsible for the attack, and that they have led the police to a “terrorist band” which wants to ”achieve the resignation of president Nicolás Maduro and imperatively also achieve the recall referendum [against Maduro] by coercive means.”
“All of these processes, and accomplices, are indirectly or directly linked to the mayor Carlos Ocariz, who is now under investigation for his alleged implication and his role as mastermind [of terrorist acts], and also [to determine] the possibility that he has financed several terrorist activities,” explained Gozález López. He also accused Ocariz of being behind child kidnaping cases and of recent looting incidents in Petare.
In a graphic shown by VTV, Ocariz figures as part of a “Dirty War Lab” of the Primero Justicia party, and J.J Rondón, a prominent electoral consultant, is labeled as the “Intellectual Author” of the grenade attack.
González López also indirectly linked opposition leader Capriles Radonski to the attack because, according to him, he had been the day before at the place of the incident.
“The SEBIN has dismantled a Paramilitarized Terrorist Band supported by Venezuelan rightwing factors. (…) Our responsibility is to neutralize the possibility of terrorist acts which factors of the opposition could be preparing soon,” added the General.
Opposition leaders, including Julio Borges and Henrique Capriles Radonski of Primero Justicia and Jesús Torrealba, Executive Secretary of the opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), flanked Ocariz in a press conference yesterday in which he denied the accusations. Torrealba said that this was an attack by the government that went beyond Ocariz and which aimed to stop the recall referendum process.
Opposition leaders have been facing detentions and arrests by SEBIN in the last months. So far however, the main targets have been leaders of Leopoldo López’s party Voluntad Popular. The government news agency Agencia Venezolana de Noticias reported González López declarations under the headline “Primero Justicia linked to terrorist acts against the Guardia Nacional Bolivariana.”