Several drones apparently armed with explosives detonated near Maduro as he was giving a speech to the military on Aug. 4. Video footage of the incident, shown on Venezuelan television, captured the moment the explosions went off before Maduro and his wife could be seen looking to the sky in confusion.
Maduro was unharmed in the alleged attempt, but he later said that “they tried to kill me,” according to local reports. He blamed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for the incident.
“And I have no doubt that everything points to the right—to the Venezuelan ultra-right, in alliance with the Colombian far-right,” he said, adding that “Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack,” according to a translated comment reported by El Nacional.
But the president of the socialist country added that “that several of the … financiers of this attack on my life are living in the United States … in the state of Florida,” the report said.
Bolton on Aug. 5 shot down the accusations, denying any American involvement.
“I can say unequivocally there was no U.S. government involvement in this, at all,” Bolton told Fox News. “If the government of Venezuela has hard information that they want to present to us that would show a potential violation of U.S. criminal law, we’ll take a serious look at it. But in the meantime, I think what we really should focus on is the corruption and oppression in the Maduro regime in Venezuela.”
Bolton said he spoke with the U.S. government’s top diplomatic official in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, on Aug. 5 and said that Americans in Venezuela are safe.
A group called the “National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts” claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported. In a series of posts on social media, the group said that it had planned to fly two drones but that military snipers shot them down.
Venezuela, a once-wealthy oil-producing nation, is in the midst of a five-year crisis under Maduro’s socialist government. Venezuelans have struggled to buy scarce food and medicine in the country amid soaring inflation rates.
In recent months, Venezuelans have crossed into Colombia and other South American countries to get food and other supplies.