Venezuelans living in United States blamed for drone attack

Leroy Wright
August 6, 2018

Meanwhile, the BBC said Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez declared his unconditional loyalty to the president on national TV.

Maduro was delivering a televised speech Saturday evening to hundreds of soldiers when he and his wife, Cilia Flores, looked up at the sky and winced after hearing the sound of an explosion.

One of the witnesses - who showed the AP cellphone video of a drone hovering over a residential street two blocks away and then crashing into a building - said the police arrested the machine's pilot.

Maduro's allies counter that the opposition has a history of involvement in military conspiracies, most notably in the 2002 coup that briefly toppled socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela's government routinely accuses opposition activists of plotting to attack and overthrow Maduro, a deeply unpopular leader who was recently elected to a new term in office in a vote decried by dozens of nations. One of the drones was to explode above the president while the other was to detonate directly in front of him, he added.

Images on social media showed officers surrounding Maduro with what appeared to be a black bulletproof shields as they escorted him from the site.

The United States on Sunday denied any involvement in the alleged "assassination" attempt. The broadcast was quickly cut. "But in the meantime, I think what we really should focus on is the corruption and oppression in the Maduro regime in Venezuela".

President Nicolas Maduro was delivering a speech when the explosions erupted
Watch an alleged drone attack on Venezuela’s president sends soldiers fleeing

A little-known group calling itself Soldiers in T-shirts claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it planned to fly two drones loaded with explosives at the president but soldiers shot them down. "I hope that President Donald Trump is ready to fight these terrorist groups".

"It could be a lot of things from a pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else", United States national security adviser John Bolton told conservative news network Fox on Sunday.

"If the objective of a government is to achieve the greatest amount of happiness possible, we can not tolerate that the population is suffering from hunger, that the sick do not have medicine, that the currency has no value, or that the education system neither educates or teaches, only indoctrinating communism", added the statement.

Reverol said security disabled one drone that was headed toward the stage where Maduro was speaking, while another crashed into a nearby building and exploded.

Maduro's allies Cuba and Bolivia condemned the incident, as did Russian Federation. Maduro has steadily moved to concentrate power as the nation reels from a crippling economic crisis.

Last year, 125 people were killed over four months of violent clashes between anti-Maduro protesters and armed forces. Venezuelans have struggled to buy scarce food and medicine in the country amid soaring inflation rates.

The parade Maduro attended was to mark the one-year anniversary of the Constitutional Assembly, a legislative body packed with Maduro loyalists that arrogated powers from the opposition-ruled National Assembly.

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