Fugitive Venezuela police pilot pops up at opposition vigil
A rogue Venezuelan police pilot wanted for lobbing grenades and shooting at government buildings appeared briefly at an opposition vigil on Thursday night in a surreal twist to the crisis-worn country’s political drama.
Oscar Perez, 36, who also is an action film star who portrays himself as a James Bond-cum-Rambo figure on social media, surprised opposition supporters by popping up at a Caracas event to mark the deaths of about 100 people related to anti-government unrest that started in April.
"We don't want any more blood on the streets," he said.
Perez, flanked by young men clad in balaclavas and surrounded by cameras, said the opposition must continue protesting. "It's time for this narco-government to fall down," Perez said, calling for "a general walkout for July 18, walkout with no return. The zero-hour will start on Tuesday. The referendum we'll do it, with dignity, we'll be in the street defending the people."
On Sunday, the opposition will hold an unofficial referendum to let Venezuelans have their say on Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution.
Two weeks ago, Perez hijacked a police helicopter flying over Caracas' center and fired shots at and lobbed grenades on the Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court to fight what he said was a tyrannical government.
Perez has appeared only once since that incident - in a video saying he was in Caracas and keeping up the fight against the government of unpopular President Nicolas Maduro, who has called Perez a terrorist.
Perez’s stunt shocked many in Venezuela, although some suggest it was a false flag operation by the government to distract from the crisis. The police pilot produced and starred in a 2015 Venezuelan action movie.