'Bomb in a drone' is President Maduro's excuse for crackdown

Glen Norman
August 6, 2018

Once back in the presidential palace, Maduro said he had "no doubt" that Colombia's Santos - a Nobel Peace Prize victor who negotiated a historic peace accord with Marxist guerrillas FARC - was "behind the attack".

"It is contrary to military honour to keep in government those who not only have forgotten the Constitution, but who have also made public office an obscene way to get rich", the group said in a statement, which was passed to US-based opposition journalist Patricia Poleo, who read it on her YouTube channel.

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

On Sunday, White House national security adviser John Bolton said that the USA had nothing to do with the incident and suggested the whole thing may have been "a pretext set up by the regime itself".

Firefighters at the scene, however, told the Associated Press that the culprit was a gas tank explosion in a neighboring apartment building.

Within seconds, Maduro said he heard a second explosion and pandemonium broke out.


"The preliminary investigation indicates that many of those responsible for the attack, the financiers and planners, live in the United States in the state of Florida", Maduro said. "Today, they attempted to assassinate me".

"People of Venezuela, to successfully complete this emancipatory struggle, we have to take to the streets, without going back".

Columbia said there was "no basis" for the accusation, while a little-known organisation called the "National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts" claimed responsibility.

Security officers were able to disable one of the drones flying toward the stage where Maduro was standing with high-ranking officials, Reverol said.

"We demonstrated that they are vulnerable".

Germany said merely that it was "closely following developments on the ground", while Portugal opined that the crisis in Venezuela could be overcome by "dialogue and national consensus" in line with "democratic principles".


Amid deadly, near-daily protests a year ago, a rogue police officer flew a stolen helicopter over the capital and launched grenades at several government buildings.

Opposition critics accuse Maduro of fabricating or exaggerating security incidents to distract from hyperinflation and Soviet-style product shortages. Oscar Perez and several comrades were later killed in a gun battle after over six months at large.

He added that the armed forces "absolutely repudiate this barbarism in a desperate attempt to destabilize" the government.

Just over a year ago, Maduro claimed a police helicopter had fired grenades at the Supreme Court in a "terror attack" that caused no injuries or damage and was dismissed by the opposition.

Maduro said the incident had left him convinced of the military's support and undeterred in carrying forward the torch of Chavez's revolution.


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