Crackdown Feared in Venezuela After Alleged Assassination Attempt on Maduro

Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro dodged an apparent assassination attempt the previous day when drones armed with explosives detonated while he was delivering a speech to hundreds of soldiers being broadcast live on television, according to officials. But the image of martial lockstep was quickly shattered when a second drone hit a building nearby, as scores of soldiers scurried away before the live transmission ended and switched to reruns about the South American country's vehicle census.

President Maduro was giving a speech when the attack happened.

State television footage of the rally showed Maduro startled by what appeared to be an explosion and footage later panned to soldiers lined up on a boulevard who chaotically broke ranks in what appeared to be a reaction to a second blast.

Last year, a rogue Venezuelan police officer hijacked a helicopter and fired at government buildings in what he said was an action against a dictator. Maduro said that several suspects had been apprehended.

Within seconds, Maduro said he heard a second explosion and pandemonium broke out.

The thwarted attack comes as Venezuela is reeling from a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis and Maduro has grown increasingly isolated.

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.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the involvement of the group, which did not respond to requests for comment on the arrest announcements, or identify any of its members.

Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed Saturn and Mars near their closest approaches to Earth in June and July 2018. This proximity gives the Red Planet its brightest appearance in the night sky since the 2003 opposition.

Joggers and cyclists were taking up two of the lanes that are traditionally used for weekend recreation.

Maduro can take some solace in that a half-dozen bodyguards dashed on stage to cover him with bulletproof panels.

Nearby residents told The Associated Press that they saw a drone crash into a building and explode blocks from where Maduro was speaking in Caracas. She says she saw a drone strike the same building mentioned by the other witness and then fall.

The security forces later took apart the vehicle and found what appeared to be remote controls, tablets and computers, said the two, who identified themselves as Andres and Karina, without giving their last names.

The parade Maduro attended marked the one-year anniversary of the Constitutional Assembly, a legislative body packed with loyalists that arrogated powers from the opposition-ruled National Assembly. Another was arrested in 2014 in connection with a series of nationwide protests against the Maduro government that convulsed the country for several weeks.

Both the Colombian government and the Trump administration, who have adversarial relationships with Venezuela's government, have rejected Maduro's accusations.

But in public, the top brass remains fiercely loyal to Maduro, a 55-year-old former bus driver and union leader who unlike his predecessor Hugo Chavez does not hail from the military. "Maximum punishment! And there will be no forgiveness".

Afterward, Maduro gave a defiant speech in which he accused Venezuelan opposition groups, financial backers in Florida, and Colombia's outgoing president, Nobel Peace Prize victor Juan Manuel Santos, of trying to assassinate him.

Recommended News

  • Giuliani: Trump to make Mueller sit-down call within 10 days

    Giuliani: Trump to make Mueller sit-down call within 10 days

    The president's tweet was merely reiterating that his camp wants the investigation over "sooner rather than later", Sanders said. Obviously Don Jr. obviously being Don Jr. said, 'Of course. "If he wanted to obstruct it, he'd obstruct it, just end it.
    India limp to 76 for three after Curran strikes

    India limp to 76 for three after Curran strikes

    It was the all-rounder's 100th Test wicket and evidence, if any were needed, of just what an exciting talent he is. The England skipper , Joe Root was the top scorer of England as he scored a flamboyant knock of 80.
    Trump and EU easing trade tensions a

    Trump and EU easing trade tensions a "ceasefire", but pressure still on

    We have identified a number of areas on which to work together, work towards zero tariffs on industrial goods. The escalating trade war and tariffs on steel and aluminum had put pressure on auto companies' earnings.
  • 'Aquaman' Trailer Starring Jason Momoa Debuts at Comic-Con!

    'Aquaman' Trailer Starring Jason Momoa Debuts at Comic-Con!

    Director Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot were very quiet about Chris Pine's character, Steve Trevor, who died in the first film. Fellow Atlantean Mera ( Amber Heard ) seeks out Arthur, trying to persuade him to return with her and take up the throne.
    Jordan takes in Syrian 'White Helmets' evacuated with Israeli help

    Jordan takes in Syrian 'White Helmets' evacuated with Israeli help

    Last week the Syrian regime reached a deal through which the rebel groups in the area, defeated and encircled, could surrender. USA officials said the volunteers at the border were likely to be targeted by the government advance.
    Galileo Would Be Stunned: Jupiter Now Has 79 Moons

    Galileo Would Be Stunned: Jupiter Now Has 79 Moons

    This was at a time when the Sun was still surrounded by a rotating disc of gas and dust from which the planets were born. Valetudo , as the team calls this oddball moon, is named after the Roman goddess of health, cleanliness and hygiene.
  • Thibaut Courtois wants Real Madrid move to be close to children

    Thibaut Courtois wants Real Madrid move to be close to children

    Courtois previously spent three years at Atletico Madrid and now is ready to link up with their city rivals. I don't know the situation at this moment. "I hope Courtois will be our goalkeeper", he said.
    United 'Hopeful' Of Completing Alderweireld Move

    United 'Hopeful' Of Completing Alderweireld Move

    Everton new boy Lucas Digne has a message for Barcelona star Yerry Mina - forget Manchester United and join him at Goodison Park. Russo apparently demanded increased agent's fees and as a result Mina appears set to stay at the Camp Nou .
    Vettel sorry, takes blame for crash

    Vettel sorry, takes blame for crash

    Vettel entered the 52nd lap of the 67-lap race having led 38 of the race's first 51 laps. Ferrari called Raikkonen to the pits early in a bid to upset the Mercedes up ahead.
  • Colorado Farmers React To Presidents Agriculture Aid Amid Tariffs

    Colorado Farmers React To Presidents Agriculture Aid Amid Tariffs

    In a speech on Tuesday, he said farmers would be the "biggest beneficiary" of the disputes after countries strike new trade deals. American farmers have finally found a government subsidy they don't like. "They have a positive attitude going into this".
    Ahead of EU Meeting, Trump Rails at Domestic Critics

    Ahead of EU Meeting, Trump Rails at Domestic Critics

    He noted that countries "that have treated us unfairly on trade for years" are coming to Washington to negotiate. It was the first recognition by the Trump administration that the president's trade dispute is hurting Americans.
    No, Montenegro is not essential to USA  national security interests

    No, Montenegro is not essential to USA national security interests

    Trump can further argue that Germany's actions beyond its inadequate defense spending have necessitated this move. Trump also criticised the German chancellor for supporting a gas pipeline with Russian Federation .

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.