Venezuela’s leader safe after attack
Assailants tried to assault Nicolas Maduro with drone-like devices armed with explosives, the government said.
CARACAS, Venezuela — Assailants tried to attack Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with drone-like devices armed with explosives that detonated just as the socialist leader was delivering a speech to soldiers, the government said Saturday.
Speaking in an address to the nation later Saturday, Maduro said: “This was an attempt to kill me.”
He said evidence gathered thus far “points to the far right” and that he believed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a frequent critic of his, was in some way responsible.
He added police had made arrests in the incident but did not provide any further details.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said seven people were injured.
“At exactly 5:41 p.m. in the afternoon several explosions were heard,” Rodriguez said. “The investigation clearly reveals they came from drone-like devices that carried explosives.”
State television showed Maduro celebrating the National Guard’s 81st anniversary right before his speech was cut.
At one point, Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, looked up to the sky and winced after apparently hearing an unidentified sound.
The cameras then turned to a wide shot of military officers as they broke rank and began running.
The transmission was then cut.
The area has been closed off by military personnel.
Several firefighters at the scene disputed the government’s version of events, saying instead that the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside an apartment.
Venezuela is going through a crippling political and economic crisis, with hyperinflation soaring toward 1 million percent, crumbling hospitals and residents migrating in massive numbers.
Security forces scramble to a site near where Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was giving a speech Saturday.