Venezuelan leaders in Miami warn of attacks by Maduro against opposition

Attendees of Southwest Socialism Conference Albuquerque NM Aug. 4

Venezuela's government said on Sunday it had arrested six "terrorists and hired killers" over an alleged assassination attempt on President Nicolas Maduro using explosive-laden drones.

Those arrested are accused of "terrorism and assassination", Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said. One was "diverted" by security forces while the second fell on its own and hit an apartment building, Reverol said.

The other machine collided into a nearby building and exploded, he said.

Venezuela's Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodriguez, said an initial investigation showed that the explosions came from several "drone-type flying devices", but NBC news reported they were thought to be off-the-shelf commercial drones.

One showed a cellphone video of a drone hovering over a residential street two blocks away and then crashing into a building.

Reverol said the "assassination" attempt was carried out by two remotely operated drones and each carrying a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of plastic explosive C4 - "capable of causing effective damage over a 50-meter (164 feet) radius".

Here is some of the reaction from countries around the world to Saturday's incident, which the Venezuelan government said left seven soldiers injured.

Patricia Andrade, executive director of the human rights organization Venezuela Awareness Foundation, said Maduro's government takes advantage of any excuse to stop the opposition and dig in its heels.

Venezuela, a once-wealthy oil-producing nation, is in the midst of a five-year crisis under Maduro's socialist government.

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.

On Saturday night, in a televised speech hours after the attack, Maduro blamed "ultra-right Venezuelans in alliance with ultra-right Colombians" for the attack, singling out Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as responsible.

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"This was an attempt to kill me", he said.

"I am fine, I am alive, and after this attack I'm more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution", he said.

Attorney-general Tarek William Saab said some "material authors" of the apparent attack had been detained and prosecutors had already obtained critical details with further details to be given today.

An opposition group known as Broad Front issued a statement late on Saturday warning that Maduro may use the alleged attack to clamp down further on opposition leaders and "repress the constitutional rights of the people to continue protesting for the defence of their rights".

An earlier account by firefighters at the scene of the blast hand linked the explosion to a gas leak.

The government of the United States, which supported a failed coup against Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez in 2002, also denied any responsibility.

"We demonstrated that they are vulnerable".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C), his wife Cilia Flores (L) and military authorities reacting to a loud bang during a military ceremony.

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

Maduro often accuses the opposition and the United States of working together to topple him.

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