Drone Attack On Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro
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Over the weekend, a drone strapped with explosives appeared to be targeting Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro during a military parade at Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday. Manhunt continues for suspects. Six people have been arrested. So far, it is not certain if this were an assassination attempt or if it were staged. Maduro has been accused of undermining democracy and violating human rights of Venezuelans for years. Venezuela’s tanking economy has also triggered much refugee crisis. Many Venezuelans held Maduro accountable for the major economic collapse that may reach inflation rate of 1,000,000% (one million percent) by the end of the year. Immediately after the incident, Maduro blamed Colombia and ultra-rights of Miami in the United States for the attack. A group named Soldados de Franelas (“T-shirt Soldiers”) claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. Another group, called Operación Fénix, made vague claims on Twitter, denouncing the Maduro government of being involved in drug trafficking and stating that they sought to restore democracy in Venezuela. Since the drone attack, people of Venezuela became even more worried about the persecution of Maduro’s opposition and greater military purges in the future. Washington Post contributing correspondent Rachelle Krygier takes CBSN through the latest from Caracas, Venezuela, below:
On August 4, 2018, at least two drones detonated explosives near Avenida Bolívar in Caracas, where Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, was addressing the Bolivarian National Guard. Maduro claimed he was targeted in an assassination attempt, though the cause and intention of the explosions is unknown. Skeptics suggested the incident was a false flag operation designed by the government to justify further repression of opposition in Venezuela. President Maduro also laid blame on extreme right-wing elements in his own country acting together with extreme right-wing elements in neighbouring Colombia, and specifically named Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as being behind the incident. A spokesperson for President Santos promptly denied the accusations. Maduro also suggested that Venezuelan exiles in the United States, particularly Miami, Florida, may have been involved. On 6 August 2018, Prosecutor General of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, announced that two individuals described to be the alleged pilots were arrested and “will be charged with the crimes of treason and intentional homicide” in addition to other crimes.
Excerpt of Nicholas Maduro, from wikipedia, in italics, below:
Maduro is a Venezuelan politician who has served as the 63rd President of Venezuela since 2013 and previously served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013.
Starting off as a bus driver, Maduro rose to become a trade union leader before being elected to the National Assembly in 2000. He was appointed to a number of positions within the Venezuelan government under Chávez, ultimately being made Foreign Minister in 2006. He was described during this time as the “most capable administrator and politician of Chávez’s inner circle”. After Chávez’s death was announced on 5 March 2013, Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the President. A special election was held on 14 April 2013 to elect a new President, and Maduro won with 50.62% of the votes as the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. He was formally inaugurated on 19 April.
Maduro has ruled Venezuela by decree since 19 November 2013. His presidency has coincided with a decline in Venezuela’s socioeconomic status, with crime, inflation, poverty and hunger increasing; analysts have attributed Venezuela’s decline to both Chávez and Maduro’s economic policies, while Maduro has blamed speculation and an “economic war” waged by his political opponents. Shortages in Venezuela and decreased living standards resulted in protests beginning in 2014 that escalated into daily marches nationwide, resulting in 43 deaths and a decrease in Maduro’s popularity. Maduro’s loss of popularity saw the election of an opposition-led National Assembly in 2015 and a movement toward recalling Maduro in 2016, though Maduro still maintains power through loyal political bodies, such as the Supreme Court, National Electoral Counciland military.
After entering a constitutional crisis when the Supreme Tribunal removed power from the National Assembly, months of protests occurred in 2017, leading Maduro to call for a rewrite of the constitution. The Constituent Assembly of Venezuela was elected into office 30 July 2017, with the majority of its members being pro-Maduro. On 20 May 2018, Maduro was reelected into the presidency in what the Atlantic Council and Financial Times described as a show election which had the lowest voter turnout in Venezuela’s modern history.
Like Chávez, Maduro has been accused of authoritarian leadership, with mainstream media describing him as a dictator, especially following the suspension of the recall movement that was directed towards him. Following the 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly election, the United States sanctioned Maduro, freezing his U.S. assets and prohibited him from entering the country, stating that he was a “dictator”. The majority of nations in the Americas and the Western world also refused to recognize the Constituent Assembly and the validity of his 2018 reelection, initiating their own sanctions against him and his administration as well.
To better understand the history that led Venezuela from being the wealthiest nation in Latin America to its current state, please view “The Collapse of Venezuela, explained“, below:
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