Authorities detained six people suspected of using explosives-laden drones in a failed bid to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials said Sunday. Interior Minister Nestor Luis Reverol on Sunday described it as a terrorist attack and said more arrests could follow within hours. Investigators have raided hotels and seized vehicles for details into the plot.
Venezuela’s socialist government alleged Sunday that the detained suspects conspired with others in Miami and the capital of neighboring Colombia, though they offered no specific evidence. Opposition leaders criticized Maduro for broadly singling out his political opponents, and they warned that he might use the attack to further suppress his critics.
The thwarted attack comes as Venezuela is reeling from a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis and Maduro has grown increasingly isolated. Foreign nations, including the United States, are slapping economic sanctions against a growing list of high-ranking officials and decrying his government as an autocratic regime.
Maduro and his allies called the attack direct proof that an international plot to overthrow his socialist administration exists, while also saying that the military’s response shows he still has the loyalty of Venezuela’s soldiers.
But analysts said the images broadcast live on television when the attack struck during a Maduro speech Saturday evening made him appear vulnerable. (Read more from “Venezuelan Government: Explosions Were Attempted Attack on President” HERE)