Bolton denies USA involvement in Maduro assassination plot

Tuesday, 07 Aug, 2018

Bolton noted that Maduro has a history of baselessly blaming Santos and the USA for incidents in Venezuela. President Maduro was quick to blame his enemies, including Juan Manuel Santos -the incumbent Colombian President, the United States and his country's opposition.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, security personnel surround Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.

The Colombian government has denied any involvement, saying there is "no basis" to Mr Maduro's allegations.

So far, Maduro has offered no proof to back up the charges of Colombian or United States involvement.

This is the first known drone assassination attempt on a president.

Venezuela's far-left government said seven soldiers were wounded by the alleged attack using explosive-laden drones during a military parade in Caracas on Saturday. Security guards quickly moved in with ballistic blankets to protect Maduro.

He said the Venezuelan political far right, in collaboration with the Colombian far right and President Santos, were behind the attack.

The military managed to knock one of the drones off course electronically and the other craft crashed into an apartment building two blocks away, Reverol said.

"Whatever frailty comes across is compensated by the excuse Maduro now has to crack down on his internal enemies real or perceived", Gallegos said.

But Nicmer Evans, a former government loyalist and now leader of the opposition Frente Amplio party, said he feared the government's measures "open the door to persecution and a wave of repression". They detonated while the head of state was delivering a speech at the ceremony for the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard's establishment.

"The right insists on violence to take areas it can't through votes", he wrote.

Moscow sided with Maduro's regime after his government faced global isolation when close to 130 people were killed in anti-regime protests previous year.

Still, the government's adversaries warned of a possible crackdown after Maduro accused opponents of seeking to assassinate him with drones.

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. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have left the country over this time, and previous year, 125 people were killed across four months of clashes between Venezuelan authorities and anti-regime protesters.

One of the key reasons for the protests was the creation of the Constitutional Assembly, which aimed to short-circuit the National Assembly in which the opposition won a supermajority in 2015 elections.

The Supreme Court declared the National Assembly dissolved. While Maduro was speaking about Venezuela´s economy, the audio suddenly went and he and others on the podium looked up, startled.