Tensions rose exponentially in Venezuela on Tuesday evening, when a police helicopter took to the skies of Caracas in an operation aimed at bringing an end to the rule of President Nicolas Maduro. It is not clear if the attackers’ intention was to directly overthrow the government or to send a message to the president and the public that it’s time for Maduro to step—or be pushed—aside.
What is clear is that the most likely scenarios for Venezuela’s future are increasingly becoming a coup or a civil war.
It’s remarkable that the chopper, apparently commandeered by rogue members of the investigative police, managed to stay aloft for some two hours, firing shots and possibly dropping grenades without being forced down by forces loyal to the president. Observers were puzzled by the lack of a response as minutes turned to hours and the sound of gunfire rang out over the Ministry of Interior and the Supreme Court buildings.