Bolton Says 'No US Government Involvement' in Maduro Assassination Attempt

Bolton Says 'No US Government Involvement' in Maduro Assassination Attempt

"It is absurd and unfounded to say that the Colombian President ( Juan Manuel Santos) is responsible for the supposed assassination attempt on the Venezuelan president", the foreign ministry said in a statement. They were piloted aircraft remotely and designed for industrial work and can withstand heavy loads.

It was then alleged the explosions were caused by two drones rigged with explosives. Seven law enforcement officers were injured. One of the drones was to explode above the president while the other was to detonate directly in front of him, he added. "Seconds later there was a second explosion", he said.

"I am fine, I am alive, and after this attack I´m more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution", said the 55-year-old.

Live footage of the event showed him suddenly looking up startled mid-speech, while beside him his wife, Cilia Flores, winced after a loud bang and dozens of soldiers were seen scattering.

The "amateurish" attack prompted embarrassing images of Maduro cut off midsentence with droves of soldiers running away in fear, making the president appear vulnerable, Smilde noted.

Investigators continued searching a blackened apartment building near the site while also seizing vehicles and raiding more than one hotel where they said they had found "film evidence". Security videos are being examined for clues as well, he said.

Police arrested the drone pilot, the witness said.

Authorities in Caracas revealed that two drones packed with explosives targeted the president as he made a speech as part of celebrations marking the 81st anniversary of the National Guard.

Venezuela has dealt with widespread economic issues, including inflation, poverty, rising crime and hunger, in recent years.

Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador over 'interference'
She is a Canadian citizen whose brother Raif Badawi, a blogger who was critical of the Saudi government, was already in jail in the kingdom.

The group admitted the failure of what it called "Operation Phoenix" and did not confirm if the action was an attempt on Maduro's life.

The arrests suggest the attack was less a military uprising than an assault led by groups linked to anti-Maduro street protesters, dubbed "The Resistance", who have led two waves of violent demonstrations that left hundreds dead. In January, he and other members of a small rebel group were killed by government forces. Maduro fumed hours later, as he blamed the incident on Colombia´s outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos and financiers in the United States.

At one point Saturday, Maduro asked Trump to arrest the "terrorists".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed the comments made by National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier in the day as he returned from an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference Sunday night.

"This is an attack against President Nicolas Maduro", Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said.

David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America who has spent decades researching Venezuela, said the incident did not appear to be a staged attack by Maduro's government for political gain.

That is consistent with the shadowy group that claimed responsibility for the attack, The National Movement of Soldiers in T-Shirts, whose website says it was created in 2014 to bring together different groups of protesters.

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".

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