On the anniversary of right-wing opposition violence that gripped Venezuela beginning Feb. 12, 2014, the government in Caracas announced it had dismantled a violent coup plot. The plotters had planned to overthrow the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro with a campaign of violence, including mass killings and tactical bombings of strategic sites across Caracas. When the dust cleared, they coup plotters expected key government officials, including Maduro to be dead, with the country then firmly in their control.
The plot failed after the government said they uncovered it and arrested the ringleaders.
Below is a timeline of how the coup plotters hoped their plan would play out.
January 6-8: Coup plotters planned to conduct nationwide operations aimed at creating unrest in the streets. Queues outside commercial stores such as supermarkets were set to be among the primary targets, where operatives hoped to set off violence. Elsewhere, various groups planned to engage in other activities aimed at fomenting destabilization in the streets.
January 9-February: Over the weeks, plotters hoped the country would descend into a state of turmoil, paving the way for the violent overthrow of the Maduro administration.
February 3: Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas tried to bribe people in strategic positions to participate in a coup, said President Nicolas Maduro at the time.
February 12: The coup was scheduled to begin this day. Chavista and opposition rallies commemorating Youth Day were slated as the first targets. Coup plotters planned on attacking the marches to provoke panic in the streets. Then, strategic sites across the capital were to be bombed in a series of coordinated attacks, carried out using a Tucano attack aircraft. The Tucano is a small, highly maneuverable military aircraft manufactured in Brazil, though the U.S. military has purchased a handful for counterinsurgency operations. The sites targeted for bombing included public transport, government offices, mass media and open areas, such as the grandiose Plaza Venezuela. The full list of targets included:
- teleSUR headquarters (east Caracas)
- Headquartes of the Military Intelligence (DIM)
- Plaza Venezuela
- Metro station Zona Rental (center of Caracas)
- Ministry of Defense (center of Caracas)
- Caracas municipality building (west)
- Miraflores palace (national government and presidential headquarters)
- Public Prosecutor’s office (center of Caracas)
Members of both the opposition and the government – including Maduro – were expected to be assassinated during the ensuing chaos.
Amid the turmoil, media outlets would be forced to broadcast a statement announcing the collapse of the government.
February 13: The coup government was expected to be firmly in control of the country and free to begin rolling back Venezuela's socialist revolution.