Police shield Venezuela's President after 'assassination attempt'

Marsha Scott
August 7, 2018

RAND Corporation global security policy analyst Colin Clarke told Wired that there was nothing particularly technically challenging about the alleged Maduro incident: "The barriers to entry have been lowered so much that literally anyone with enough money to afford a drone and the technical competence of a 12-year-old can pull off an attempt like this".

President Nicolas Maduro stands at attention during a event marking the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday before the explosions.

On other occasions, Maduro blamed Colombian paramilitary groups of trying to further destabilize the country whose crisis has spurred the migration of more than a million people over the past two years. Saturday's alleged attack would not be the first to target the controversial leader, but it would mark a new milestone in the use of drones.

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.

The foreign ministry said that "it is now a habit of the Venezuelan head of state to permanently blame Colombia for any type of situation".

The footage, broadcast on Venezuelan TV, then showed soldiers scurrying frantically before the signal was cut off.

Maduro said some of those involved were arrested and an investigation was under way.

Contrary to Reverol's account, Rodriguez said there were three drones: one that exploded in front of the stage, one to the right of it and one near a building to the south of the stage.

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Those arrested are accused of "terrorism and assassination", Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said.

The arrests suggest the attack was less a military uprising than an assault led by groups linked to anti-Maduro street protesters, dubbed "The Resistance", who have led two waves of violent demonstrations that left hundreds dead. One took part in 2014 protests that rocked the nation as it descended into an economic crisis that is now worse than the Great Depression.

Saab said the names of those arrested would be revealed on Monday. Officials gave no details. A video posted to Twitter shows a drone exploding in mid-air.

Another witness, Mairum Gonzalez, described running in panic to her fifth-floor balcony, where she heard the second explosion and saw smoke rising.

The supposed attack happened on Saturday as President Maduro was addressing crowds of people on a podium alongside his wife, Cilia Flores, and high-ranking military officials.

Following the attack, Venezuela's information minister, Jorge Rodríguez, said. The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified.

"It was not successful today, but it is just a matter of time", the group said in a tweet.

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

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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