Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro ties prominent opposition leader to drone attacks

Bodyguards cover the president as drones carrying explosives are shot down close to his platform

Bodyguards cover the president as drones carrying explosives are shot down close to his platform

Venezuelan Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, announced Wednesday that 19 individuals have been identified as being directly involved in the failed assassination attempt against the country's President Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro had accused Opposition leaders Juan Requesens and Julio Borges of being involved in the attack.

It follows a thwarted assassination attempt Saturday when two drones armed with explosives detonated near the president speaking outdoors during a military celebration.

They have blamed a plot involving Julio Borges, Colombia and other opposition lawmakers, financed by unnamed figures in the U.S. state of Florida. "The investigations point to him", Maduro said during Tuesday's broadcast, though he provided no details of Borges' alleged role.

Venezuelan law grants lawmakers immunity from prosecution while in office, but the head of the country's pro-Maduro constitutional assembly said he would propose stripping that protection from the two lawmakers.

Critics of Maduro's socialist government said immediately after the drone explosions that they feared the unpopular leader would use the incident as an excuse to round up opponents as he seeks to dampen spreading discontent over Venezuela's devastating economic collapse.

Video circulating Tuesday on social media showed Venezuela's political police arresting Requesens, a 29-year-old deputy in the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The Reuters news agency cites opposition figures as saying his sister, Rafaela Requesens, a student leader, was arrested with him but later released.

Prosecutors say they have arrested six people who face charges of treason, attempted murder and terrorism.

Maduro spoke for two hours from the Miraflores Presidential Palace in a presentation using polished videos showing suspects and images of the drones exploding. One video included a purported confession by a handcuffed suspect, whose face was blurred out.

Maduro said he would provide evidence to officials in both countries and ask for their cooperation handing over suspects who helped orchestrate and finance the attack.

Maduro has called on US and Colombian leaders to turn over any suspects. Maduro said. "I trust in the good faith of Donald Trump".

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