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Venezuelan Officials Say President Nicolás Maduro Is Unharmed After 'Attack'

05 August 2018

State television was broadcasting Maduro's speech at the National Guard anniversary live when the incident took place.

Drones loaded with explosives were apparently detonated near a military event in Caracas where Maduro was speaking at a celebration honoring the 81st anniversary of the country's National Guard.

A version purporting to explain the loud blasts and resulting chaos during Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro speech has emerged, contradicting the official account of the events.

In his speech post-attack, Maduro said he saw one flying object explode right in front of him and a split second later, another go off to his right.

A senior State Department official said: "We've heard the reports coming out of Venezuela".

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In an impassioned address to the nation, Maduro said some of the "material authors" of an attack with drones are now in custody. "The name of Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack ... the initial investigations point to Bogota", Maduro said.

But three firefighters at the scene, speaking to Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said the explosion had come from a gas tank in a nearby apartment block.

The self-described "son" of Chavez, Maduro says he is battling an "imperialist" plot to destroy socialism and take over Venezuela's oil.

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

He said the President is safe and meeting with the ministers and high commanders of the Venezuelan military.

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Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled due to food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation that could reach one million percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Earlier on Twitter, the group said it was made up of "patriotic military personnel and civilians loyal to the Venezuelan people who seek to rescue the democracy of a nation under dictatorship".

Rodriguez accused the country's right-wing opposition of carrying out the attack.

Venezuela's global government broadcaster, TeleSUR, said on Twitter that the Venezuelan government confirmed an attempted attack on Maduro.

Last year, a rogue Venezuelan police officer hijacked a helicopter and fired at government buildings in what he said was an action against a dictator.

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Venezuelan Officials Say President Nicolás Maduro Is Unharmed After 'Attack'