Supporters rally for Venezuela’s president after possible assassination attempt

World Today

Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rally in Caracas. Monday’s gathering comes after what his government is calling an assassination attempt at the weekend. Police have arrested six people in connection with what the government is calling a drone attack during a ceremony celebrating Venezuela’s National Guard. CGTN’S Juan Carlos Lamas reports from Caracas.

Hundreds of supporters of President Nicolas Maduro turned out in downtown Caracas, to show they stand behind their president and to denounce what the government said was an attempt to assassinate him on Saturday.

“I’m here to support my president so he does not feel alone,” said demonstrator Maria Eugenia Perez. “There are many threats, and betrayals –too much evil around him.” 

“We support Maduro, and will give our lives to defend our president and the government,” said Luis Hernandez. “We are socialists. We support the revolution and most importantly we are Venezuelans.”

Venezuelan authorities have confirmed the arrest of at least six people they said were involved in the plot to kill Maduro.

“The place where the perpetrators stayed in the days before the assassination attempt has been established,” said Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab. “The explosive experts who armed the devices have been identified, and the international connections of these people have already been traced.”

Venezuelan authorities are blaming the attack on right-wing enemies of the government, as well as the Colombian government. They said Venezuelans living in the U.S. helped plan and finance the operation, a charge the U.S. denies. In Bogota, President Juan Manuel Santos said there’s no basis for the accusations against Colombia.

“I have learned there is another — even more unusual accusation — that I have connections to the American intelligence services–that I am plotting with right-wing Venezuelans to assassinate the Venezuelan president,” said Santos. “By God, I say to the President of Venezuela that on Saturday I was busy with much more important things. I was baptizing my granddaughter.”

The apparent attack underlines the struggle Maduro faces to maintain control over Venezuela —- a country experiencing extreme shortages of food and medicine, hyperinflation and a deep economic crisis.