Venezuela's counter intelligence agents search for cracks in loyalty to Maduro
Guaidó asks civilians to rally at military bases Saturday
BOGOTA, Colombia – Venezuela's embattled President Nicolás Maduro's counter intelligence agents are on the hunt.
Counter intelligence agents have been investigating how opposition leader Leopoldo López was able to escape from house arrest Tuesday. They were also searching for government employees who are critical of Maduro.
Sen. Marco Rubio wrote on Twitter early Saturday morning that counter intelligence agents were going to carry out arrests. Rubio, Juan Guaidó and López have said there are cracks in the command's allegiance to Maduro.
"The very director of intelligence under Maduro, who used to be Chavez's guy for 12 years is against what’s happening now," Guaidó said in Spanish during an interview with ABC News that aired Friday. "And it’s not like he’s on my side necessarily, but on the side of the constitution."
Guaidó used social media to ask his supporters to march to Venezuelan military barracks on Saturday. He is asking civilians to ask members of the military to defend the 1999 Constitution and join his effort to change the political situation in Venezuela.
Counter intelligence agents have been investigating members of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service, or SEBIN, since the secret police director, Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, stepped down while denouncing the "disproportionate corruption" that "many high-level public servants practice as a sport."
In a letter, Figuera didn't recognize Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president, but he did say it was time for a political change.
"You cannot live in misery in such a rich country," Figuera wrote, adding that he was a loyal patriot whose integrity couldn't be bought.
On Friday, Guaidó found time to wish his daughter, Miranda Eugenia Guaidó, a happy birthday. She turned two years old. He also held a rally with Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., employees who are tired of Maduro's administration.
Amid the paranoia, Lt. Néstor Padilla, the director of operations of the State Police Miranda, also known as Polimiranda was dismissed. Padilla's removal was related to officers who confronted the armed members of a "colectivo," a gang of socialist party loyalists who was shooting at civilian protesters in Chacao, NTN24 reported Friday.
Meanwhile in Colombia, 66 former members of the Venezuelan military who deserted and were living in a hotel in Cucuta feared they were a step away from being homeless. There was also a shootout at the Simon Bolivar bridge connecting Venezuela and Colombia that Colombian authorities said was related to territorial gang fights. El Pitazo reported a woman who was hiking a trail known as "La Playita" was injured in the shooting.
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