Maduro clamps down on opposition in wake of "assassination attempt"

06 August, 2018, 23:59 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Pope Francis prays during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 2

Venezuelan opposition leaders are fearing a crackdown and increased repression following a freakish, alleged assassination attempt against the country's strongman president, Nicolas Maduro on Saturday night in Caracas.

Seven soldiers were injured, the Venezuelan authorities said.

He further said the alleged assassination constituted a "betrayal to the motherland, intentional homicide attempt, terrorism, association to commit a crime and financing terrorism".

"It was an attack to kill me, they tried to assassinate me", Maduro said.

He vowed "maximum punishment" for those involved.

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In a television address, Maduro personally blamed Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos of involvement in the plot in collusion with Venezuelan exiles in Florida, without presenting any evidence for the claim. Text "NEWS" to 22840 and always receive verified news updates.

Authorities found various nearby buildings that were struck by the explosions.

"There will be no forgiveness", Maduro warned, for what a military statement said was an act of "barbarism in a desperate attempt to destabilize" the government.

The government pointed the finger at "the ultra-right wing" - its term for the opposition.

Meanwhile, the BBC said Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez declared his unconditional loyalty to the president on national TV.

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US President Donald Trump has been harshly critical of Maduro's leftist regime, saying it has "destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology". Officials said they are suspected of launching drones laden with explosives. Control Ciudadano head Rocio San Miguel, another military expert, told the paper she believed it was probable that the government had simply lost control of one of their own drones and destroyed it before it could hit the presidential podium. A live broadcast of the parade showed President Maduro looking confused after a bang went off. Security guards quickly moved in with ballistic blankets to protect Maduro.

Maduro himself has laid the blame with far-right Venezuelan groups and neighboring Colombia, a vocal critic of Maduro's authoritarian, socialist regime that has lately received numerous hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants escaping over the border.

Colombia's Foreign Ministry denied involvement, calling the allegations "absurd". Preliminary investigations have indicated to us that there are various financial backers of this attempt on my life.

He called on Mr Trump to arrest the terrorists.

Colombian authorities hitback calling the claims "baseless" and USA national security advisor John Bolton insisted there was "no United States government involvement" before suggesting that the incident could have been "a pretext set up by the regime itself".

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A clandestine group of Venezuelan soldiers claimed responsibility for Saturday's alleged attack against Maduro, in a statement obtained by el Nuevo Herald.

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