Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he avoided an assassination attempt on his life Saturday when drones carrying explosives detonated while he was giving a speech to hundreds of soldiers that was being broadcast live on television.
Video of the speech showed Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores looked up at the sky in surprise after hearing an explosion. Dozens of soldiers are seen running away in television footage of the event.
"This was an attempt to kill me,” Maduro said, according to the Associated Press. “Today they attempted to assassinate me.”
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said two drones carrying bombs exploded near the president's stand just after 5:30 p.m. Saturday while Maduro was in Caracas giving a speech celebrating the National Guard's 81st anniversary.
In a retelling of the event, Maduro said he saw a "flying device" that exploded in front of him, at first believing it was a pyrotechnics display for the event.
A few seconds later, a second explosion sent people running, and bodyguards rushing to the stage to protect Maduro and escort him out of the event. Seven soldiers were injured and several people were later arrested according to Venezuelan authorities.
The president blamed the "far-right" working in coordination with detractors in Bogota and Miami, including Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Colombia has called Maduro's accusation "baseless."
Maduro has threatened the perpetrators of the attack, saying they will face "maximum punishment."
Photo: Getty Images