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Latin America News

Maduro is unhurt in drone attack during televised speech; Seven injured by explosions

Explosive drone like devices went off as Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was giving a live televised speech in his country’s capital Caracas, the country’s government said. 

Information minister Jorge Rodriguez said several devices detonated near the socialist leader, but he was safe and unharmed. Seven people were injured, he added. 

Maduro was “fine” and continuing to work, he said.

The Venezuelan leader was seen speaking at an outdoor military event when the attack took place.   

“To the conscious Venezuela, we are going to bet for the good of our country, the hour of the economic recovery has come and we need…,” he was saying before he and others suddenly looked up startled.  

He was standing next to his wife Cilia Flores and several high-ranking military officials for the event. Ms Flores was caught wincing on film, and both she and Mr Maduro look up after an unidentified sound. 

The audio was then cut off and the cameras quickly moved away from Maduro. 

The soldiers lined up in ranks then began running, and the transmission was cut without explanation. 

Later, Maduro claimed that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was behind the attack. “This was an attempt to kill me,” Maduro said. “Today, they tried to assassinate me and I have no doubt that everything points to the right, to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian extreme right and that the name Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack, I have no doubts.”

In response, Santos called the charge “ludicrous.”

More than 100 people have been killed in the South American nation in recent months during a series of anti-government demonstrations. 

Venezuela is living under the fifth year of a severe economic crisis that has sparked malnutrition, hyperinflation and mass emigration. The opposition blames Maduro for chronic food and medicine shortages.

Earlier this year a report by the United Nations human rights office said that government security forces in the country were carrying out unjustified killings without any apparent consequences, because the rule of law was “virtually absent”.