Venezuelan President survives apparent drone assassination attempt

Venezuelan President survives apparent drone assassination attempt

Deeply unpopular Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked keen to project himself as fully in charge of the crisis-ridden military, long a powerbroker, when he addressed its National Guard on Saturday.

Venezuela's government said on Sunday it had arrested six "terrorists and hired killers" over an alleged assassination attempt on President Nicolas Maduro using explosive-laden drones.

The United States had "no involvement" in an apparent drone assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on August 4, national security adviser John Bolton told Fox News. Foreign nations, including the United States, are slapping economic sanctions against a growing list of high-ranking officials and decrying his government as an autocratic regime. He said several conspirators were arrested in Venezuela, and appealed to President Donald Trump for help with arresting others connected to the attack in Miami.

Moscow sided with Maduro's regime after his government faced worldwide isolation when close to 130 people were killed in anti-regime protests previous year. The other had a warrant out for his arrest for participating in an attack on a military barracks.

"This is an attack against President Nicolas Maduro", Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said.

Three firefighters speaking on the condition of anonymity said the explosion was caused by a gas tank in a nearby apartment building but did not provide additional details, the AP wrote.

One downtown resident, Mairum Gonzalez, told The Associated Press she heard a deafening explosion and ran in terror to her fifth-floor balcony.

"It was so strong the building shook", she said. The visibly shaken head of state said he saw a "flying device" that exploded before his eyes. He at first thought it might be a pyrotechnics display. Colombia called the claim "baseless". Denouncing an "assassination" attempt, Maduro insisted he was "more determined than ever". He accused the Colombian leader, Juan Manuel Santos, of being behind the plot.

Venezuela's defense minister, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, said attackers were trying to take out the government's entire top leadership along with Maduro.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday", Bolton said that if Venezuela had "hard information" of a potential violation of U.S. law, "we will take a serious look at it". The Colombian government has denied any involvement in the attack.

A clandestine group of Venezuelan soldiers claimed responsibility for Saturday's alleged attack against Maduro, in a statement obtained by el Nuevo Herald. The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified. "We didn't have success today, but it's just a question of time", said the group, which says it was founded in 2014 to bring together all of Venezuela's "groups of resistance".

Both Cuban leaders expressed their "full solidarity and unconditional support for President Maduro", it said.

But Linskey, like Kreps, said the Venezuela incident raises new red flags. Bodyguards then rush to shield Maduro, and another video angle shows soldiers fleeing the scene in a panic.

Meanwhile, the Patriotic Pole coalition of parties allied with the government called for a march on Monday in Caracas to back Maduro.

In June 2017, an intelligence police commander flew a helicopter over government institutions and threw grenades at the country's Supreme Court building.

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