White House denies involvement in Venezuela drone blast

President Nicolas Maduro was speaking at military event when incident occurred

Security personnel surround Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro following a drone blast  in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Xinhua via AP

Security personnel surround Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro following a drone blast in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Xinhua via AP

 

A senior White House official on Sunday denied the United States was behind a drone blast on Saturday during a military event where Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was speaking.

“I can say unequivocally there is no US government involvement in this at all,” John Bolton, national security adviser to the White House, told Fox News Sunday in an interview. Mr Bolton suggested that the Maduro government could be behind the explosion, citing widespread corruption and oppression in Venezuela.

“It could be a lot of things from a pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else,” Mr Bolton said, adding that there were no Americans injured in the blast. “If the government of Venezuela has hard information that they want to present to us that would show a potential violation of US criminal law, we will take a serious look at it,” he added.

Mr Maduro often accuses the US, which has imposed sanctions against officials in his government, of “conspiracy” and blamed US politicians of fomenting plans to topple him to end nearly two decades of socialism in Venezuela. A little known group called the National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack. Mr Maduro was not hurt during the explosion.

Venezuela is into its fifth year of a severe economic crisis that has sparked malnutrition and hyperinflation, causing tens of thousands of people to flee across the border into Colombia and Brazil. – (Reuters)