A pair of explosives-laden drones detonated near President Maduro of Venezeula on Sunday, as he spoke at a ceremony celebrating their National Guard. The resultant explosions injured seven soldiers.
Six people have been identified as associated to the attack, and have been arrested. More arrests are seen as likely.
There is considerable uncertainty regarding the culpability of these six people. Part of the uncertainty is due to the speed of the investigation; the six were arrested within hours of the attack. Another contributing factor is the set of comments made by Maduro and his official representatives afterward. He has blamed his internal, Venezuelan political opposition; the leadership of nearby Columbia; and the leadership of the United States.
The United States disagrees:
US National Security Adviser John Bolton denied any US involvement in the incident, adding that it could be “a pretext set up by the regime itself”.BBC News
Bolton’s theory is reasonable. The last dependable polling in Venezuela put Maduro’s approval at 20%. Despite that, he won the recent election handily in what was deemed by the international community to be a sham. (TNB)
The failure of the drone strike to kill anyone is a point in favor of Bolton’s interpretation. Rumors of insurrection, particularly when initiated by forces from outside the country, are an established method of consolidating support.
On the other hand, with his popularity so low and the massive turmoil to which Venezuela has been exposed, it is very plausible that an internal group might have launched the attack, hoping to shake free the bonds of dictatorial Socialism.
The United States and other countries also have a history of attempting to deal with international security threats through short, focused bouts of violence.
In what appears to be corroborating evidence for Maduro, A group has come forward to claim responsibility:
A little-known group called the “National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts” claimed responsibility for the attack. In a series of posts on social media, the group said it had planned to fly two drones but that snipers shot them down.Reuters
“We demonstrated that they are vulnerable. We didn’t have success today, but it’s just a question of time,” said the group, which says it was founded in 2014 to bring together all of Venezuela’s “groups of resistance.”
With no response to requests for follow-up contact from journalists and no prior history of activity, however, the veracity of this claim is suspect. The uncertainty is heightened by their lack of a profile during the recent election protests.
While the truth regarding Maduro is thus difficult to establish at this point, one overriding truth is evident: Venezuela is in trouble.
Venezuela’s inflation rate has hit a new high, according to university research, with consumer prices in the crisis-ridden country rising by more than 40,000% annually for the first time on record.Business Insider
With a nonfunctional currency, material shortages and political crackdowns, the stage is set in Venezuela for open, bloody rebellion… or a surge in oppression that with further drive the populace into serfdom.