Last week, following the dismantling of the elected legislature in Venezuela, we looked at the possibility of the military failing to support President Nicolas Maduro and perhaps even removing him from office to restore order. That was one of the big unknowns in the rise of Maduro as a complete dictator, but yesterday we may have seen the first hints of an answer. A small band of individuals, some civilian and some wearing military apparel and claiming to be from the army, briefly attacked a military base near Valencia. (Reuters)

Venezuelan authorities suppressed a small rebellion at a military base near the city of Valencia on Sunday, arresting seven men who they say participated in a “terrorist attack” against the government of unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro.

Earlier on Sunday a video circulated on social media showing a group of men in military uniform announcing an uprising in the wake of the creation of a pro-government legislative superbody on Friday, which was widely condemned as a power grab.

Hundreds took to the streets in Valencia to support the uprising, said resident Carolina Herrera, who like other witnesses reported shots through the night.

While details are still somewhat sketchy, it sounds as if the uprising consisted of a relatively minor number of individuals and it was put down pretty quickly. At least two were killed with several more arrested. The remaining rebels fled, some with weapons which they’d commandeered from the base, but Maduro quickly vowed that the response against them would be harsh. (Associated Press)

President Nicolas Maduro vowed that a band of anti-government fighters who attacked a Venezuelan army base will get the “maximum penalty” as his administration roots out his enemies.

Troops killed two of the 20 intruders who slipped into the Paramacay base in the central city of Valencia early Sunday, apparently intent on fomenting a military uprising, Maduro said in his weekly broadcast on state television.

One of the invaders was injured, seven captured and 10 got away, the embattled leader said.

“We know where they are headed and all of our military and police force is deployed,” Maduro said. He said he would ask for “the maximum penalty for those who participated in this terrorist attack.”

The country’s legislature, which was ostensibly eliminated by the recent “election” of the so-called constitutional assembly, is still meeting today and they’ve been encouraging the military to defect from Maduro and restore order. At the same time, they are encouraging citizens to continue taking to the streets in protest. Unfortunately, the starving and outgunned protesters haven’t had any apparent effect on Maduro’s power grab thus far as the country spirals downward toward hermit kingdom status. A military uprising, while it would no doubt be somewhat bloody and leading to unpredictable results, may be the best (if not only) remaining option for removing Maduro and restoring some sense of order to Venezuela.

The problem here is that we have no idea if this was a one-off raid by an isolated, small band of less than two dozen dissidents or the beginning of something larger. If opposition forces can’t come up with more than two or three dozen sympathetic members of the Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana who are willing to fight and take back their country, this isn’t going to turn out to be much of a coup. But if this one attack inspires others around the country, who knows? It might not be too late to save Venezuela from this tyrant after all. If not, the end game of socialism will be on full display for the world to see. And it’s not going to be pretty.