At least one explosion rocked a military event where Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was giving a speech on Saturday and the government said it was a failed assassination attempt involving drones carrying explosives. Maduro said “everything points” to a right-wing plot that initial investigation suggested was linked to Colombia and the U.S. state of Florida, where many Venezuelan exiles live. Several perpetrators were caught, he said, without elaborating.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said drones loaded with explosives detonated close to the military event in downtown Caracas. A Venezuelan who was visiting family nearby told Reuters she heard two explosions.
Maduro, a leftist who replaced President Hugo Chavez after his death in 2013, was unharmed but Rodriguez said seven National Guard soldiers were injured. “This was an assassination attempt, they tried to assassinate me,” Maduro said in a later televised address.
A little-known group called the “National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts” claimed responsibility for the attack. In a series of posts on social media, the group said it had planned to fly two drones but that snipers shot them down.
“We demonstrated that they are vulnerable. We didn’t have success today, but it’s just a question of time,” said the group, which says it was founded in 2014 to bring together all of Venezuela’s “groups of resistance.” The group did not respond to several requests for information from Reuters.
CARACAS REUTERS Aug 4