Six arrested in Venezuela after drone attack

Pope Francis prays during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 2

Pope Francis prays during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 2

"We have six terrorists and assassins detained", Reverol said.

Speaking to el Nuevo Herald, the activists also dismissed accusations by President Nicolás Maduro that the attack is linked to people in Florida.

He described it as "a crime of terrorism and assassination" and said that the "material and intellectual authors inside and outside the country" had been identified.

The event had been just one more of many Maduro routinely holds with members of the military, a key faction of Venezuelan society whose loyalty he has clung to as the nation struggles with crippling hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.

"This was an assassination attempt, they tried to assassinate me", Maduro said in a later televised address.

He blamed the Venezuelan political far right in collaboration with the Colombian far right, and the current Colombian President Santos of being behind the assassination attack.

Maduro said the incident had left him convinced of the military's support and undeterred in carrying forward the torch of Chavez's revolution.

But Nicmer Evans, a former government loyalist and now leader of the opposition Frente Amplio party, said he feared the government's measures "open the door to persecution and a wave of repression".

One of the witnesses - who showed the AP cellphone video of a drone hovering over a residential street two blocks away and then crashing into a building - said the police arrested the machine's pilot.

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One of the drones flew over the presidential stage with the intention of being detonated by the attackers, but Reverol said the authorities caused it to lose control and detonate outside the area the attackers targeted.

Within seconds, Maduro said he heard a second explosion and pandemonium broke out. The broadcast was quickly cut.

Mr Maduro, 55, a deeply unpopular leader who was re-elected after a disputed vote in May, said the "far right" working with detractors in Bogota and Miami, including Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, were responsible. "But in the meantime, I think what we really should focus on is the corruption and oppression in the Maduro regime in Venezuela".

The Colombian government has denied any involvement in the attack.

He also blamed Venezuelans living in the US. "I hope that President Donald Trump is ready to fight these terrorist groups".

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton told Fox News in an interview on Sunday that the United States was not involved in the blast.

That is consistent with the shadowy group that claimed responsibility for the attack, The National Movement of Soldiers in T-Shirts, whose website says it was created in 2014 to bring together different groups of protesters.

"If the goal of a government is to achieve the greatest amount of happiness possible, we can not tolerate that the population is suffering from hunger, that the sick do not have medicine, that the currency has no value, or that the education system neither educates or teaches, only indoctrinating communism", added the statement.

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