Questions surround claims of drone assassination attempt on Venezuela’s Maduro

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Screen grab from video shows security detail shielding President Nicolas Maduro after what was reported by the Venezuelan government as a drone attack assassination attempt.

 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is likely to use what he said was an attempt on his life to purge his socialist government of disloyal officials and further restrict liberties, an analyst said.

Maduro’s government said the president survived an assassination attempt on Aug. 4, claiming explosions heard during a military event that was broadcast on live TV were drone attacks.

Three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity say the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside a nearby apartment building, The Associated Press reported.

David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America told the AP that, while the attack didn’t appear to be staged by Maduro’s government, it prompted embarrassing TV images of Maduro cut off mid-sentence with droves of soldiers running away in fear, making the president appear vulnerable.

According to another report cited by the Washington Post, the incident may have involved the destruction of an out-of-control military drone.

Smilde said Maduro will use the suspected assassination attempt to concentrate power, further restricting liberty while purging the government and armed forces of those he deems disloyal to him.

Maduro said some of the “material authors” of the alleged drone attack are now in custody.

He insisted far-right wing factions within Venezuela working in collaboration with conspirators in Colombia and Miami were responsible.

Maduro said he believed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, an outspoken critic of the Venezuelan president, was also responsible.

Maduro added that some of those who financed the attack are in Miami and that he hoped U.S. President Donald Trump is “willing to fight the terrorist groups.”

“This was an attempt to kill me. Today they attempted to assassinate me,” Maduro said.

Full article: Questions surround claims of drone assassination attempt on Venezuela’s Maduro (World Tribune)

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