[JURIST] Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro [official profile, in Spanish] announced on Wednesday that three air force generals were arrested and brought before a military tribunal for plotting a coup. In his remarks on Venezuela’s state run broadcast, Maduro stated [CNN report] that the three generals, who he did not name, were “trying to turn the air force against the legitimately constituted government.” Additionally, he stated that the generals had direct ties with opposition groups in Venezuela. Since taking office in April 2013, Maduro has routinely accused his political opponents [Guardian report] of plotting coups, but he seldom provides evidence or gives the public details. David Smilde [official profile] of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) [official website] says that the arrests do not necessarily mean that Maduro is losing ground with the military and that he may be publicizing the coup in order to “emphasise the need for unity.”
Earlier this month a group of independent experts from the UN asked Venezuela to explain allegations [JURIST report] of arbitrary detention and excessive force against journalists and demonstrators during the country’s recent protests. One week earlier UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] condemned [JURIST report] the recent political violence in Venezuela and urged all parties to move towards resolving the situation. The violent demonstrations [JURIST report] are partially a result of economic difficulties [BBC report] and disdain towards Maduro. In September Venezuela withdrew [JURIST report] from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights despite criticism from activists. In August the Supreme Court of Venezuela dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] by presidential candidate Henrique Capriles challenging the results of the presidential election that placed Maduro as the successor to Hugo Chavez [JURIST news archive].