CARACAS, Venezuela, Tuesday August 7, 2018 – Six people have been arrested in connection with what the Venezuela government said was an assassination attempt on President Nicolas Maduro.
“The majority of those responsible have been detained. Not only are they confessing, the government has also been able to examine the material that was in their possession, as well as some of the electronic devices they had, including cell phones and computers,” Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said.
One of the six had been wanted for involvement in a raid on a northern military base a year ago, in which rebels made off with a cache of weapons.
Last Saturday, two drones, each armed with a kilogramme of C4 explosives, flew toward Maduro as he spoke at a commemoration of the Venezuelan national guard.
— Caracas News 24 ?? (@CaracasNews24) August 5, 2018
Interior and Justice Minister Néstor Reverol said one of the drones flew over the tribune where Maduro was speaking but that it became “disoriented by signal inhibiting equipment” and was therefore “activated outside the assassins’ planned perimeter.”
The second drone lost control and crashed in an adjacent building, he added.
Seven soldiers were injured.
Officials say the plot was hatched at least six months ago, and described the attackers as “terrorists and hired killers”.
“We…know the places where they stayed in the days leading to the attack. We have identified the people who made the explosives and prepared the weapons and their international links,” Attorney General Tarek William Saab said.
President Maduro blamed the attack on the Venezuelan political far right, working with the Colombian far right and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, as well with Venezuelans living in the United States.
“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 on national television hours after the incident.
Santos dismissed the allegations and said it had become “customary for Maduro to blame Colombia for any kind of problem in his country.” And US National Security Adviser John Bolton told Fox News on Sunday that the US government had no involvement in the attack.