Venezuelans living in USA blamed for drone attack


In a television address, Maduro personally blamed Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos of involvement in the plot in collusion with Venezuelan exiles in Florida, without presenting any evidence for the claim.

Maduro is deeply unpopular because of Venezuela's collapsed economy, hyperinflation that could reach 1 million percent this year and his autocratic style of governing.

Security officers were able to disable one of the drones flying toward the stage where Maduro was standing with high-ranking officials, Reverol said.

Meanwhile, president Maduro said that those responsible will face "maximum punishment, and assured that he remains " more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution".

Mid-speech, Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, looked up at the sky and winced after hearing the sound of an explosion.

Colina, a retired lieutenant in the National Guard, said there's real "fear" that Maduro and his allies will strike out against opponents.

Another witness, Mairum Gonzalez, described running in panic to her fifth-floor balcony, where she heard the second explosion and saw smoke rising.

Officials say attackers flew drones loaded with explosives toward the president during an open-air military ceremony that was broadcast on live television.

Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol announced the arrests on state television, saying more could be on the way "in the coming hours".

Bolton said he spoke with the USA government's top diplomatic official in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, on August 5 and said that Americans in Venezuela are safe.

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In a statement, the Russian Federation foreign ministry said: "We are convinced that settling political differences must be carried out exclusively in a peaceful and democratic way". He blamed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for the incident.

Colombia said the accusation was "baseless".

"It could be a lot of things from a pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else", U.S. national security adviser John Bolton told conservative news network Fox on Sunday. Under Maduro - who has been in power since the 2013 death of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez - Venezuela has been in a near constant state of crisis.

"After losing the vote, they failed again", Mr Rodriguez said.

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.

However, Hasler Iglesias, a youth leader with the opposition Voluntad Popular Party, told the BBC: "It's hard to believe that the opposition is going to make an attempt when they have never made an attempt in this way in 20 years".

Late Saturday, a rebel group calling itself the National Movement of Soldiers in T-Shirts claimed responsibility in a statement passed to US-based opposition journalist Patricia Poleo, who read it on her YouTube channel.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the involvement of the group, which did not respond to requests for comment on the arrest announcements, or identify any of its members.

To add further to the confusion, firefighters at the scene disputed the government's version of events, the Associated Press reports.