drone attack venezuela assassination attempt

Drone attack targets Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in assassination attempt

Explosive-carrying drones were detonated near a stage where Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was giving a speech on Saturday in the capital of Caracas, the government said.

While Maduro was unharmed, seven soldiers were injured, said Jorge Rodriguez, the information minister.

“All of the work we have done immediately after has allowed us to establish with evidence that it was an assassination attempt,” Mr. Rodriguez said in a televised statement.

Footage from the television station NTN24 Venezuela appears to show showed Maduro standing alongside his wife Cilia Flores, as he gives a speech. They then look to the sky and wince, before the shot cuts out. A Twitter video shows another angle of of hundreds of soldiers in a parade formation who then frantically dispersed as the bomb-equipped drone arrives. Loud bangs could be heard before the broadcast was shut off.

Two drones were involved in the attack said Rodriguez, though it is unclear what types of drones were used. Rodriguez is accusing Venezuela’s right-wing opposition of carrying out the attack.

Venezuela’s government has been in turmoil, and the country has seen many violent protests as of late. Falling oil prices have decimated the country’s economy, leading to skyrocketing inflation and widespread protests.

“The economic situation in Venezuela has become increasingly volatile with inflation reaching an astounding 7000% in the year to March 2018 and 1800% over the last six months alone,” said Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International. “The cost of goods has increased exponentially as the economic and political situation has deteriorated.”

The so-called Strong Bolivar, which the government created in 2008 by lopping three zeros off its previous currency, lost 97% of its value in 2017 alone as the oil-rich country plunged further into hyperinflation.

Caracas saw regular demonstrations last year — some violent — as some citizens accuse Maduro of moving towards a dictatorship, and want him to resign. Maduro won a second term in a May election which the opposition boycotted and the U.S. and other countries said would prove to be a sham.

This is not the first time an aerial vehicle has been used in an attack on the Venezuelan government.

In June 2017, a helicopter dropped grenades on Venezuela’s Supreme Court, according to the BBC. Oscar Pérez, a rogue elite helicopter pilot, claimed he carried out the attack and called on Venezuelans to rise up against the government of President Maduro.

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