Venezuela President Maduro vows ‘maximum punishment’ after blast

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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro believes that the incident was an assassination attempt against him and the perpetrators will face “maximum punishment”.

He was speaking at a military event in Caracas when the alleged attack, involving explosive drones, occurred. He has blamed Colombia for the incident but provided no evidence. Colombia said the accusation was “baseless”.

The government has also pointed the finger at the opposition, prompting fears of a new crackdown. Many opposition leaders have already left the country citing government harassment and there are reported to be more than 200 political prisoners in the country’s jails.

The incident happened when Maduro was speaking at an event to mark the 81st anniversary of the national army. A bang is heard and footage of his speech shows the president suddenly looking upwards and dozens of soldiers running away.

Two drones loaded with explosives went off near the president’s stand, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said. Seven soldiers were injured, and several people were later arrested, the Venezuelan authorities said.

Later Maduro said the incident had strengthened his resolve. (BBC)

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