The President of Venezuela has been the target of an apparent assassination attempt by ‘far-right’ exiles from his poverty-stricken regime living in the US and Colombia.
Nicolas Maduro was giving a speech at a military event in the country’s capital, Caracas, on Saturday, (August 4), when several drones exploded.
The drones in question were said to be armed with explosives, and were flown in Maduro’s direction as he addressed soldiers.
Check out the footage below:
As Maduro looked towards the sky, he stopped during his speech as he heard one explode.
It wasn’t long before he and his wife, Cilia Flores, were covered by their aides, who were carrying bulletproof shields.
The head of state, who was clearly shaken by events, said he saw a ‘flying device’ explode, yet no drones seemed to be visible in the footage of the incident.
The 55-year-old said, according to MailOnline:
This was an attempt to kill me.
He promised to crackdown on his rivals, vowing to get those responsible, adding:
They have tried to assassinate me and everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian far right and that the name of [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack.
The video shows hundreds of soldiers run in all directions, while the sound of screaming can be heard, yet the state channel – which was filming – quickly froze.
In regards to the drones, it’s not clear whether they were shot down, or whether they just exploded prematurely.
Despite the president and his wife being unharmed, seven people were said to be injured in the attack, the country’s information minister said.
According to The Guardian, Jorge Rodríguez said:
The investigation clearly reveals [the explosions] came from drone-like devices that carried explosives.
Speaking from the presidential palace two hours after the attack, in a televised address, Maduro announced those behind the attempt on his life had been captured.
Santos will leave office on Tuesday, (August 7), but a spokesperson for the Colombian president said the allegations are baseless.
The president is focused on the baptism of his granddaughter and not on bringing down foreign governments.
The two presidents have a history of verbal sparring. Santos has often called his Venezuelan counterpart a dictator, and has criticised him for leading his country into economic and political turmoil.
At the time of writing, (August 5), no one has claimed responsibility for the incident, although one group, Soldiers Franelas, hinted at their involvement.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unharmed after an assassination attemp by drones pic.twitter.com/AMBZTEu6An
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 5, 2018
In a tweet they wrote [translated]:
We have shown [the government] is vulnerable. [The attack] wasn’t achieved today but it is just a matter of time [until it is].
Despite the group’s claim, firefighters who attended the scene have disputed the government’s claims about it being an attempted attack on Maduro’s life.
According to the Associated Press, as reported by The Guardian, they claim it was instead, caused by a simple gas tank explosion in a nearby apartment.
Phil Gunson, a consultant with the non-profit Crisis Group tweeted to say:
The official ‘investigation’ of today’s alleged assassination attempt against president Maduro takes the usual course: begin with the conclusions and work backwards.
In a country where 98% of crime goes unpunished, government sleuths resolve this kind of case in a matter of hours.
Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, but the country have been in economic and political trouble for years.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts inflation will reach one million per cent by the end of the year, while shortages in basic goods and medicines are widespread.
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