Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro's public speech cut short after apparent explosion

April FrancisAug 05, 2018

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez says Maduro was not harmed. 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.

Drones armed with explosives detonated near Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as he gave a speech to soldiers in the capital city Caracas on Saturday but the socialist leader was unharmed, according to the Venezuelan government.

In his speech post-attack, Maduro said he saw one flying object explode right in front of him and a split second later, another go off to his right.

The explosion, which the government said injured seven soldiers, took place during a televised Caracas military parade.

In a tweet, the president of Venezuela's National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, called the incident at the military parade a "terrorist attack against the president and the high military command blaming the opposition for the violence". He said far-right wing factions within Venezuela working in collaboration with conspirators in Colombia's Bogota and Miami in the United States were responsible. Maduro has steadily moved to concentrate power as the nation reels from a crippling economic crisis.

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The others killed were pro-government fighters or residents who had taken up arms to defend their villages. More airstrikes against ISIS-held towns were reported after this attack.

The country's information minister later said several drones loaded with explosives landed close to the event.

Rodriguez accused the country's right-wing opposition of carrying out the attack.

While the Colombian authorities termed the allegations "absurd", a senior US State Department official said they are "carefully following the situation". Camacho says that several members of the Venezuelan National Guard were injured during the incident.

In June 2017, a helicopter attacked and dropped grenades on Venezuela's Supreme Court.

The US and other countries have expressed alarm at the loyalist structure propping up Maduro, saying Venezuelan democracy was being undermined.

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