Claiming to be primed for civil war, a Venezuelan general issued orders to prepare for the future use of snipers against anti-government protesters, according to a secret recording of a regional command meeting held three weeks ago at a military base in the northwestern Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto.
On the recording, obtained from a Washington source that has provided el Nuevo Herald with information on Venezuela for previous stories, the generals discuss the legality and risks of using snipers during the massive demonstrations taking place almost daily against President Nicolás Maduro.
The military, however, insists publicly that it is not using lethal force against demonstrators, a claim that was repeated on Wednesday by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
The meeting, chaired by Division General José Rafael Torrealba Pérez, took place in the last week of April as Venezuela’s socialist government continued to try to contain the unrest. Local news reports said at least four demonstrators were killed by gunfire this week, raising the death toll to at least 42, with more than 700 wounded.
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