Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro survives drone attack, minister says

Larry Hoffman
August 5, 2018

The parade Mr 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.

Venezuela's information minister says several drones loaded with explosives exploded close to where President Maduro was speaking.

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In this still from a video provided by Venezolana de Television, Presiden Nicolas Maduro, center, delivers his speech as his wife Cilia Flores winces and looks up after being startled by and explosion, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.

A speech by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro commemorating the 81st anniversary of the Bolivian National Guard was unexpectedly cut short after he was interrupted on Saturday.

He said Maduro was safe and in a meeting with his Cabinet and top military officials, and that the wounded men were being treated.

Leftist Maduro, who replaced President Hugo Chavez after his death in 2013, has linked the attack to Colombia and the U.S. The camera then cuts to the scene on the street, where soldiers and others in the crowd are seen running away from what may have been an explosion.

Maduro this year brought forward to May presidential elections that ─ after they were boycotted by the opposition and key opposition figures were declared ineligible ─ handed him a new six-year term.

Venezuela's vice president for communications, Jorge Rodriguez, later addressed the nation on live TV at the request of Maduro.

The attack comes as the nation struggles with an economic crisis.

A little-known group called the "National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts" claimed responsibility for the attack.

David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America says the amateurish attack didn't appear to be staged by Maduro's government for political gain. The Associated Press could not independently verify the authenticity of the message. "We didn't have success today, but it's just a question of time", it said.

"After losing the vote, they failed again", he said. Perez was hunted down and killed by Venezuelan forces.

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