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

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

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

Leopoldo Lopez, formerly mayor of Caracas' district of Chacao, for example, is under house arrest for his role in 2014 street protests that Maduro described as a coup attempt but his adversaries insisted were a form of free expression.

Maduro also said some of those who had planned to kill him were living in the United States.

Screengrab taken from a handout video released by Venezuelan Television showing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, his wife Cilia Flores and military authorities reacting to a loud band during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on 4 August, 2018. He at first thought it might be a pyrotechnics display.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his predecessor Raul Castro "strongly condemn the attempted attack against President Nicolas Maduro", the Cuban foreign ministry said on its Twitter account.

Santos, who is due to hand over power to the hardline right-winger and vocal Maduro critic Ivan Duque on Tuesday, had said this week that the Venezuelan "regime has to fall" and that he could "see it happening in the near future". He pointed the finger at outgoing Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and "the ultra-right wing" - a term he uses to describe domestic opposition, even as a mysterious rebel group claimed responsibility. He said the drone fell to the ground and exploded, igniting a fire in an apartment. The Colombian government has denied any involvement in the attack.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton told "Fox News Sunday" that, "If the government of Venezuela has hard information that they want to present to us that would show a potential violation of USA criminal law, we'll take a serious look at it".

"It's evident that the initial reaction of the government isn't aimed at attempting to clarify what happened but rather to take advantage of the situation and irresponsibly and sweepingly attack the 'opposition, '" the group said in a statement. The AP could not independently verify the authenticity of the message.

Both the Colombian government and the Trump administration, who have adversarial relationships with Venezuela's government, have rejected Maduro's accusations.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country, where food and medicine are in very short supply, and where inflation this year could reach as high as one million percent according to the International Monetary Fund.

Maduro often accuses the opposition and the United States of working together to topple him.

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".

Analysts believe Maduro still holds the military's support, but said the images broadcast live on television Saturday nonetheless made him appear vulnerable. There was some kind of explosion while Maduro was giving a speech to a crowd of soldiers.

Maduro "came out of it completely unharmed", he said.

Amid deadly, near-daily protests past year, a rogue police officer flew a stolen helicopter over the capital and launched grenades at several government buildings.