Colombia and Venezuela clash over Maduro ‘assassination attempt’

07 August, 2018, 00:02 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • President Nicolas Maduro offering statements to the press in Caracas Venezuela Aug. 4 2018. Maduro claimed that the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and far-right elements in Venezuela had attempted to assassinate him using a pair of drones fly

Although details were sparse and confusing, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro survived what appears to be the first assassination attempt using commercially available drones.

One of the drones flew over the presidential stage with the intention of being detonated by the attackers, Reverol said, but authorities caused the drone pilot to lose control of the aircraft, and its explosive cargo detonated some distance from the targeted area.

The explosion, which the government said injured seven soldiers, took place during a televised Caracas military parade.

Reverol said one of the six detainees was already wanted for involvement in a daring raid on a northern military base a year ago, in which rebels made off with a cache of weapons. "We have identified the people who made the explosives and prepared the weapons and their worldwide links", Saab said.

The march in support of the president was convened by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and will depart from the center of Caracas to end at the Miraflores government palace, where Maduro will give a speech.

In a statement on Sunday, The Frente Amplio, Chile's opposition coalition said: "We warn that the government is taking advantage of this incident ... to criminalise those who legitimately and democratically oppose it and deepen the repression and systematic human rights violations, ".

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U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton has denied U.S. involvement in the attack, while speaking on Fox News Sunday.

He called on Mr Trump to arrest the terrorists.

The U.S. State Department on May 23 announced expulsion of two senior Venezuelan diplomats in the United States in retaliation of Caracas' earlier expulsion of two U.S. diplomats.

Colombia's Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected the accusations and called them "absurd".

The other machine collided into a nearby building and exploded, he said.

One drone was thrown off course electronically by signal blockers, according to Nestor Reverol, the country's interior minister, who said that the second fell and hit an apartment building.

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The government pointed the finger at "the ultra-right wing" - its term for the opposition.

Santos, meanwhile, tweeted directly to Maduro, saying, "Don't worry".

Open calls for military intervention have grown after massive anti-government protests previous year failed to unseat Maduro and he was re-elected in a May vote widely decried as a sham. "Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores looking up, startled, and dozens of soldiers running, before the transmission is cut off".

Maduro's security team led him to safety.

Germany said merely that it was "closely following developments on the ground", while Portugal opined that the crisis in Venezuela could be overcome by "dialogue and national consensus" in line with "democratic principles".

Last year, 125 people were killed over four months of violent clashes between anti-Maduro protesters and armed forces.

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