VENEZUELA: President Survives Assassination Attempt, Blames Colombia And US Expats In Florida


The Colombian government has denied any involvement in the attack. 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.

Maduro claimed the plotters had been planning to bomb the Miraflores presidential palace and other government buildings.

He said one drone flew over the tribune where Maduro was giving a speech but that it became "disoriented by signal-inhibiting equipment" and was thus "activated outside the assassins' planned perimeter".

Police arrested the drone pilot, the witness said. "In the next hours there could be more arrests".

Another of the detained people was previously arrested during the 2014 anti-government protests.

The attack highlights Maduro's challenges in maintaining control over the OPEC nation, where widespread food and medicine shortages have fuelled outrage and despair everywhere from hillside slums to military barracks.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, appearing on state television on Sunday, said the attackers were aiming to decapitate Venezuela's entire top leadership along with Maduro.

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Meanwhile, a policeman who requested anonymity told AFP that drones may have been released from a nearby apartment that suffered a fire after one exploded.

One showed a cellphone video of a drone hovering over a residential street two blocks away and then crashing into a building. "It was so strong the building shook", she said "I said, 'Oh my God, what happened.' It terrified me".

Video of the scene shows Maduro speaking, followed by two explosions.

The drones, according to officials, were flown towards Maduro as he addressed soldiers in Caracas on Saturday. Bodyguards escorted him from the event, covering him in black shields, and TV footage showed uniformed soldiers break formation and scatter.

"They have failed again and in Venezuela there must be justice because they tried to kill me", said Maduro.

Maduro pointed the finger at outgoing Colombian President Santos and "the ultra-right wing", a term he uses to describe domestic opposition, as a mysterious rebel group claimed responsibility.

Colombia denied any involvement.

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Bolton noted that Maduro has a history of baselessly blaming Santos and the US for incidents in Venezuela.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday", Bolton said that if Venezuela had "hard information" of a potential violation of USA law, "we will take a serious look at it".

"We warn that the government is taking advantage of this criminalise those who legitimately and democratically oppose it and deepen the repression and systematic human rights violations", wrote the Broad Front opposition coalition in a statement published on Twitter.

This was the first attempt on Maduro's life, though in June 2017, Oscar Perez, an investigator with the Venezuelan equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stole a helicopter, flew over the capital and hurled grenades at the Supreme Court.

Maduro added there were two explosions, seconds apart, . but he'd initially thought they were fireworks that were part of the military parade. The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified, and the organization did not respond to a message from the AP.

Maduro often accuses the opposition and the United States of working together to foment a "coup" to topple him. The opposition's most popular candidates were barred from running.

"But that does not hide the reality: that the government can no longer count on the unconditional support of all the military sectors", he said.

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