Seven people injured in Venezuelan president's murder attempt

Planet Money

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reacts during an event which was interrupted, in this still frame taken from video August 4, 2018, Caracas, Venezuela.

Mr Rodriguez said there was "an explosive charge. detonated close to the presidential podium" and in several other spots along the parade held in central Caracas.

"The investigation has already produced evidence that this was an attempt against the life of President Nicolas Maduro, but he is completely unharmed".

State television showed him cutting short a speech as hundreds of soldiers broke ranks and scattered.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the incident took place shortly after 5.30pm, local time, as Maduro was celebrating the National Guard's 81st anniversary.

"And I have no doubt that everything points to the right, to the Venezuelan ultra-right, in alliance with the Colombian ultra-right, and that the name of Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack", said Maduro in a television address to the nation.

Soldiers at the event were then seen running in different directions before the televised transmission was cut off.

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Maduro accused neighbouring Colombia and unidentified "financiers" in the United States of being behind the blast, while some of his officials blamed Venezuela's opposition.

Maduro said the investigation into the incident started immediately and that some of those involved in the attack had been captured and charged, although he did not specify the charges against them.

The attack comes as the nation struggles with an economic crisis.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the alleged attack.

However, other versions of events attributed the fire to an accidentally exploded gas cylinder. The Associated Press could not independently verify the authenticity of the message. "After losing the vote, they failed again", BBC quoted him as saying. The officer, Oscar Perez, was later killed in a deadly gun battle after over six months on the lam.

David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America says the amateurish attack didn't appear to be staged by Maduro's government for political gain.

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