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Maduro says Colombia behind drone 'assassination attempt'

By
Susan McFarland
Thousands rally for Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas Monday he escaped a failed drone attack Saturday. Maduro has blamed the Colombian government. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE
Thousands rally for Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas Monday he escaped a failed drone attack Saturday. Maduro has blamed the Colombian government. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he has proof the Colombian government was behind a failed assassination attempt against him that used exploding drones.

The drones detonated near Maduro at a military parade Saturday in Caracas. No one was hurt, although at least one soldier in the parade was seen with blood from a facial wound.

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Maduro said in a video late Monday police and military forces are tracking down the attack's masterminds.

"There is sufficient evidence of the participation of the outgoing Colombian government of President Juan Manuel Santos," Maduro said, saying he will soon provide proof.

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Santos, whose last day in office was Monday, fired back.

"Don't worry. On Saturday, I was doing more important things, baptizing my granddaughter Celeste," Santos tweeted.

Six people have been arrested in connection with the attack and several Caracas hotels were raided, Venezuela's interior minister said.

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Maduro did not appear at a rally Monday, where he was expected to speak, but officials offered no reason for the absence. Thousands attended the event, to express support for their president in the wake of the attack.

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Bolivian President Evo Morales, a Maduro ally, blamed the United States in a series of social media posts Sunday, specifically Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and "Yankee Interventionism."

White House officials denied the accusations.

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Tensions have been high between Colombia and Venezuela since 2016, when a political crisis began that sent close to 1 million Venezuelans into Columbia. Many have since returned, but about 600,000 have remained, leading Santos to ask for international assistance.

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