The Slatest

Venezuelan Government Says President Maduro Survives Drone Assassination Attempt

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) gestures next to Minister of Defence General Vladimir Padrino (C), during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on August 4, 2018.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) gestures next to Minister of Defence General Vladimir Padrino (C), during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on August 4, 2018.
JUAN BARRETO/Getty Images

Drones packed with explosives detonated close to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Saturday while he was attending a military ceremony in the capital of Caracas. The president was unharmed by what the government quickly called an “attack” against the leftist leader. Seven National Guard soldiers were injured.

State television was broadcasting Maduro’s speech during the celebration of the National Guard’s 81st anniversary when he abruptly cut the speech short. At one point Maduro is seen looking up as his wife, who is next to him, flinches. Shortly thereafter, hundreds of soldiers suddenly broke rank and scattered.

“At exactly 5:41 p.m. in the afternoon several explosions were heard,” Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez said in a live speech minutes after the incident. “The investigation clearly reveals they came from drone-like devices that carried explosives.” The minister qickly blamed the right-wing opposition for the attack. “After losing the vote, they failed again,” he said.

Some firefighters at the scene disputed the official version of events, according to the Associated Press. Three officials claim the explosion was actually a gas tank explosion inside an apartment. “Smoke could be seen coming out of a building window at the site of the incident,” reports the AP.

Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on August 4, 2018.
Security forces check a nearby building after an explosion was heard while Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was attending a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, in Caracas on August 4, 2018.
JUAN BARRETO/Getty Images