Colombia and Venezuela clash over Maduro ‘assassination attempt’

Nicolas Maduro

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.

"It could be a lot of things from a pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else", USA national security adviser John Bolton told conservative news network Fox on Sunday.

Prosecutors have already launched their investigation and obtained critical details from the suspects in custody, said Saab, adding that he would give more details Monday. "Justice! Maximum punishment! There will be no forgiveness!"

"I am sure I will live for many more years", he added.

The president was giving a speech live on TV next to his wife, Cilia Flores, when he stopped and looked up to the sky after hearing an explosion.

Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said there was "an explosive charge. detonated close to the presidential podium" and in several other spots along the parade held in central Caracas.

Bodyguards surrounded Mr Maduro, 56, holding up bulletproof shields as he was led from the stage. The broadcast was quickly cut.

People living near the site of what appeared to be an assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro say they saw a drone crashing into an apartment building as explosions occurred during the event. However, other accounts blamed the fire on the accidental explosion of a gas cylinder.

Late on Saturday, an anonymous group known as "Flannel Soldiers" claimed responsibility for the attack on social media, but the claim could not be substantiated.

"If the objective of a government is to achieve the greatest amount of happiness possible, we can not tolerate that the population is suffering from hunger, that the sick do not have medicine, that the currency has no value, or that the education system neither educates or teaches, only indoctrinating communism", added the statement.

USA ready to make 'real deal' on Iran nukes
Pompeo said , "After 40 years of tyranny, the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government's abuses". " Never, ever threaten the United States again ", the president admonished in an all-caps tweet .

Reverol said one of the detained had an outstanding arrest warrant for his alleged role in the August 2017 attack on a military base in Valencia.

Ivan Duque takes over as the Colombian President this week.

Colombia denied any involvement.

He blamed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for the incident. "I hope that President Donald Trump is ready to fight these terrorist groups".

"If the government of Venezuela has hard information that they want to present to us that would show a potential violation of United States criminal law, we will take a serious look at it", he added.

Maduro's allies Cuba, Bolivia, Syria and Iran condemned the incident, as did Russian Federation.

Spain's foreign ministry on Sunday condemned "all kinds of violence used for political ends" and called for a peaceful, democratic resolution to the "serious crisis" in Venezuela.

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

Maduro said the incident had left him convinced of the military's support and undeterred in carrying forward the torch of Chavez's revolution.

Maduro this year brought forward to May presidential elections that - after they were boycotted by the opposition and key opposition figures were declared ineligible - handed him a new six-year term.

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