Venezuela Arrests 6 'Terrorists' Over Maduro Attack as Opposition Fears Reprisals

Geneva Stokes
August 6, 2018

"These terrorist acts represent a slap in the face to the expressed desire of the President of the Republic, Nicolas Maduro, for national reconciliation and dialogue", Reverol said in a statement read on state television.

"I hope the Trump administration is willing to fight terrorist groups that commit attacks in peaceful countries in our continent, in this case Venezuela".

Reverol says the second drone crashed into a nearby building and exploded.

"People of Venezuela, to successfully complete this emancipatory struggle, we have to take to the streets, without going back".

Further muddying the waters were statements made by fire-fighters on the scene, made on condition of anonymity, which point to the explosions being caused by a faulty gas tank in a near by apartment.

Two top Trump administration officials have now denied US involvement in the apparent assassination attempt of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday night.

Colombia's government has vehemently denied Santos had any role in the drone attack.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro survived the apparent assassination attempt, after several drones armed with explosives flew towards him, during a speech on Saturday evening local time commemorating the 81st anniversary of the country's National Guard.

The Venezuelan government has long blamed Colombia for plotting overthrows, and far-right elements in Bogota and Miami for attempting to undercut Maduro.

One downtown resident, Mairum Gonzalez, told The Associated Press she heard a deafening explosion and ran in terror to her fifth-floor balcony.

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Photos on social media show bodyguards lifting multiple bulletproof shields in front of Maduro.

Venezuela's defense minister says attackers mounting an assassination attempt were aiming to decapitate the government's entire top leadership along with President Nicolas Maduro. The broadcast was quickly cut. Maduro and the other officials were unharmed.

But Nicmer Evans, a former government loyalist and now leader of the opposition Frente Amplio party, said he feared the government's measures "open the door to persecution and a wave of repression".

However, he suspected Mr Maduro "will use it to concentrate power".

"The right insists on violence to take areas it can't through votes", he wrote. The country's economy has largely collapsed, its currency has suffered hyperinflation, and its population has endured widespread food and medicine shortages, as well as increased crime and violence.

Maduro's allies counter that the opposition has a history of involvement in military conspiracies, most notably in the 2002 coup that briefly toppled socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Germany said merely that it was "closely following developments on the ground", while Portugal opined that the crisis in Venezuela could be overcome by "dialogue and national consensus" in line with "democratic principles".

A year ago, four months of street protests flared against his authority that were put down by robust action from the army, the National Guard and police, resulting in 125 people killed.

Last year, the president said the new body replaced the elected legislature. Maduro won a new six-year term in May but his main rivals disavowed the election and alleged massive irregularities.

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