Photo: EFE retrieved

Several journalists spent this Sunday touring the areas near yesterday’s incident at Bolívar Av. to try and verify official versions. The fire was reported yesterday afternoon at Building Don Eduardo, located at the Este 12 Av. (Santa Rosalía sector). There, news agency Associated Press collected the anonymous testimonies of firefighters who said that a gas cylinder had exploded. Throughout Sunday, social networks were flooded with interviews with the neighbors of the Don Eduardo building and dismissed the gas cylinder version, describing the drone, which some saw flying while others saw or heard explode on the roof of the first floor, some sort of terrace that’s inaccessible from apartment 22, which was the most affected in the building.

Social networks were flooded with interviews with the neighbors of the Don Eduardo building and dismissed the gas cylinder version.

Later, journalist Adriana Núñez Rabascall shared a part of a video that shows the drone flying and falling on the Don Eduardo building. Telemundo has the full version and we’re waiting for them to release it. Shortly afterwards, another video was published in which Nicolás’s speech was clearly heard and, after the camera focuses on a flying drone (the first one) the device blows up and a young male voice says: “We got sabotaged, did you see it?”. About that drone, the one that exploded near the presidential stage, journalist Javier Ignacio Mayorca posted a series of videos on his Instagram account: @crimensincastigo. The people of Runrun.es synchronized three videos to clarify the moments each of them covered.

Armored hurricane

While CEOFANB celebrated on Twitter that they qualified for the semifinal of the Army Games 2018, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said yesterday’s incident was terrible, poor and cowardly, claiming that it “touches a very serious and dangerous extreme,” while asserting that all security bodies are working and ratifying the accusation against “the Venezuelan and Colombian ultra-rights.” He added that “no government that seeks to take power through a non-democratic method will have the Armed Forces’ support.”

Shortly after that, Interior Minister Néstor Reverol said that two drones model M600 were used yesterday and that each one contained one kilogram of C4 explosives, capable of affecting a 50-meter radius. In his view, the drones can carry a huge load and weight and what contained the drain that hovered near the presidential stage was the “installation of signal-jamming equipment.” Without offering names, he announced that six people had been arrested (one of them already wanted for the assault against Paramacay Fort in 2017 and another who participated in protests in 2014 and was released from prison with precautionary measures); that they’ve collected video evidence and in less than 24 hours, they managed to identify the masterminds and perpetrators within the country and abroad, but they don’t rule out further arrests.

The issue with the versions

Later, Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez said that a group of insurgents planned yesterday’s incident for six months and thanks to the “quick reaction” of Nicolás’s security ring, they could capture several material authors that “are revealing all the details of this operation.” He also said that most of the masterminds are arrested and confessing, but they also seized the electronic equipment they had.

Jorge Rodríguez also said that most of the masterminds are arrested and confessing.

The detail? In his version, there weren’t two but three drones: one in front of the presidential stage, another to the right of the stage (the Curamiche corner) and the third exploded near the Don Eduardo building, three squares south of the stage. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza met with part of the diplomatic corps accredited in Venezuela to prevent them from being “victims of misleading information.” In his version, there were only two drones. He thanked the support they’ve received, claimed that the incident clears any doubt about the existence of a plan to oust Nicolás and restated that the attempt was planned in Colombia and the United States.

Support and condemnation

Condemnation for this Saturday’s incident started with Bolivian President Evo Morales, who said it was “a crime against humanity.” Next came Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the Turkish Foreign Minister (who referred to the incident as “abominable”) while Russia said the use of terrorist methods as instruments of political fight is “categorically unacceptable.” The Syrian government also condemned the attack and took the chance to suggest that the international community avoid meddling in Venezuelan affairs, while Spain’s socialist faction demanded “a peaceful, democratic, negotiated solution” to our crisis. Colombia rejected Nicolás’s accusation because “it’s unfounded,” while Donald Trump’s National Security adviser John Bolton said that the United States was not involved in the event, but that if the Venezuelan government has solid information they want to share with them, they’ll process it; meanwhile, Bolton said, “what we really should focus on is the corruption and the oppression of the Maduro regime in Venezuela,” adding that Nicolás’s accusations are things he’s said before “and we should take them for what they are worth.”

Other attempts

  • Against press freedom: the National Union of Press Workers denounced that 11 journalists and media employees were arbitrarily arrested, beaten or robbed. They demand that the culprits be punished.
  • Against survival: Asdrúbal Oliveros reported in a forum that the inflation rate for July was 145% and the yearly rate between July 2017 and July 2018 was 124,000%.
  • Against the right to information: German channel Deutsche Welle (DW) was pulled from cable TV providers by order of Conatel, for broadcasting the documentary “Venezuela – Escape from a Failed State.” Once the program’s 42 minutes had elapsed, the channel was back on the grid. Conatel denied the incident.
  • Against free transit: airport authorities retained Carabobo University rector Jessy Divo in Valencia on Friday. An order was issued barring her from leaving the country.
  • Against respect: Francisco Arias Cárdenas admitted that the chip to regulate fuel traffic didn’t work due to “the internal corruption of those who handled and installed it.” And he said it only to support the relevance of the transport census as the method that will solve everything.

So there were two drones. Experts say that the damage caused by both triggered objects doesn’t match a payload of one kilogram of C4 explosive. There’s a level of vulnerability shown in the stampede of the brave, that can’t be solved by arresting material authors or masterminds, nor grandiose adjectives or vows of loyalty. By the way, all the testimonies collected today by State media come from bureaucratic structures. The Frente Amplio cautioned that the government could use this confusing incident as a diversion from the crisis and to criminalize dissidents, intensifying repression. We’re all alert, starting with Nicolás.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. 2 guys in the back of a high-walled flatbed truck, two blocks away from the parade with American made military mortars would have ENDED Maduro and NOBODY would know what happened.

    Yet they have this crazy scenario as their go to?

    • Or Russian made, or Chinese, or Turkish, or Israeli, or from anywhere in the world. A real attack could have had any “fingerprints” so desired and it would have been successful — but it would not have looked like this phony crisis.

      When Maduro or any other public enchufado dies suddenly of a mysterious ailment without being able to speak to anyone (à la Lenin), then you’ll know it was a hit.

      • Very true. I just haven’t had experience with foreign equipment.

        But I DO know that two guys who know what they are doing can rain down destruction on a very specific area within a span of a stop light and be gone without nobody knowing what happened or where it came from.

        • Exactly, that’s what the enchufados should be afraid of. They can’t do anything about the castros, who will act on their own schedule. But the small capable wildcards will act at any time and place with any bystanders…incalculable collateral damage and chaos.

          (As you say, gone before the first round lands. A friend on a 120mm crew also said they can get first round metal to metal miles away. Even the IRA with improvised mortars developed substantial capability.)

          • I have seen a crew of two operate an 81mm and get off 12-13 rounds in under a minute. That is ONE stoplight at a busy intersection. These mortars are LETHAL from 3 miles away. That’s 4 in the air before the first one lands.

            At a known distance and with a known target and a spotter and simple geometry, two teams could have wiped out that stage in less than 10 seconds and got away clean. And in the unlikely event that Maduro DID survive such an onslaught? You can bet the farm that NOBODY wants to stand within 100 yards of him ever again.

            What utter horse shit that Chavismo believes that the US is incapable of taking out Maduro, Delcy or Diosdado.

            I wonder if Maduro is going to behind his yoga mats today at Miraflores rally?

  2. Time to start rolling out the manufactured “drone” videos. Rolling out interviews with neighbors who ” saw” the drones, etc etc. They are going to put on a full dog and pony show with this! Lol.

    • “”Hey buddy… how would you like some hypertension medicine for your mom, and a truckload of CLAP boxes? All you gotta do is play along with us… say what we say… and if you don’t, you are a suspect and these guys from SEBIN want to talk to you….”

  3. Tom, I can’t comment on the video of the drone exploding in mid-air that was synchronized with the camera angles of Maduro’s speech, but the video of the drone falling on the Don Eduardo building looks authentic when you compare the characteristics of the building’s windows in the photo above to that in the video.

    • I just watched the video several times and the view is so close up that I can’t even be certain that it is the same building. It looks very similar but I would think there are other buildings that could be used for filming that would look just like it when zoomed in that close . ..I don’t know…

      • Look carefully at the bars on the windows. Same building to me. Appears to fall just about where that hole in the wall below the window shows in the photo above. The video obviously cut off before any blast.

        Having said that, I’ll watch it again and see what I can tell of the background, if anything.

    • Government (news camera?) drone mistakenly shot down by cops which morphed into outlandish tale at the hands of Jorge Rodriguez, chief storyteller extraordinaire.

    • From the video footage of the drone falling in front of someone’s apartment window it would appear to be a Yuneec. There are different models of this high end drone but they can carry up to an additional 1.5kgs, range 3 miles line of sight with 24 minutes or so flying time with the added 1.5kg. Adequate for the job of delivering a kg of high explosive.
      So the assassination attempt could have been genuine based on the drone specification. If it was a setup by Maduro and co. they chose the “correct” video of a falling drone. In other words they did their homework which is doubtful. ( come to think about it even if they did their homework they still should have got it wrong)

  4. If it was a real attempt it’s a shame they missed. Not that the next corrupt dictator to replace Maduro cow disease would be any better. I don’t wish this violence on Venezuelan society but at this point I couldn’t feel any sympathy for Maduro. These conspirators were arrested and evidence produced suspiciously quickly. Is it possible Zimbabwe has a brighter future than Venezuela at this point? Both are hopelessly corrupt but Zimbabwe has a form of market economy and elections that might not have been completely rigged.

    • I don’t consider what Perez did futile, nor a stunt. Inept… maybe. But at the very least he and his believers had the BALLS to do something and was willing to pay the ultimate price.

  5. Videos released by reds a.k.a. chavistas are not verifiable proof. A snippet of a drone exploding released 24 hours later by a verifiablre chavista is not proof. I can also make a video and sync the audio track

    In these scenarios where the flow of information is tightly controlled, you have to be very analytical and look at how the flow of information occurs. Then you question everything from a technical and scientific POV. Key in these situations are the initial flows of information before the regime has stepped in and clamped down. Thus we return to the building, the gas leak, the explosion, the drone, the drone shootdown by security forces and the testimony of firemen on the scene.

    The explosion was not the product of a small bombona IMO. Much larger gas leak IMO.

    What happened at the grandstands was an over-reaction by Maduro’s bodyguards that set off the panic and stampede. Earlier I posted the bodyguards did their job. Not necessarily so. If the actions of the bodyguards led to the ensuing chaos, then yes the bodyguards over-reacted because there was no threat or imminent harm to the narco-dicator-president. The act of unfurling ballistic shields and umbrellas is what caused the panic.

    So blame Maduro for this goat fuck that is of his doing and making.

  6. PS nobody in their right mind would think of such a silly drone stunt. Not even the regime in auto-coup mode. This was quickly improvised by the shrink and disinformation minister Jorge Rodriguez.

  7. This “assassination” attempt is the best thing to happen for over a year, and that alone tells you Maduro had nothing to do with it.

    The “Running of the Bolivars” is a permanent stab in Maduro’s heart.
    Played over and over on the internet for anyone to see for generations.
    And most likely studied by history, psychology, military and even in marketing professors in what not to do to project strength while in power.

    We all know we watched Nicolas with out clothes while he watched his Bolivars run.

    Enjoy it, because Nicolas is mad. He has now the opportunity to go for the kill. He already had the opposition at there lowest. He has the Military, the upper government, the police, collectivos and press. No reason for him to purge now. Yes, there are those nasty food and medical problems, but those who will not submit to the revolution are welcome to leave. And leave they do. They are not staying and planning, and sabotaging or bombing places around the country. There is no patriotism for what once was, there is little underground, little resistance. Only migration by the elite, by the educated, by the “why should I stick my neck out” youth of today. Venezuela’s “ME GENERATION”

    It is a new world.

    And this obvious gas explosion – oops I meant assassination attempt is a chance to increase the pace of the demise of this 20 year disaster.
    Even if Maduro goes all out and purges, then all the better.
    As this will increase the chance for change, IF THERE EVER WILL BE CHANGE.

    The frog in the boiling pot is getting old.
    The pain and suffering is getting unbearable.
    It is time the remaining either submit, fight or leave the remains of their country that once was.

  8. I know every commenter here knows this, but for the record, there are drones and then there are drones:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Atomics_MQ-9_Reaper

    If Uncle Sam, in cooperation with Colombia, wanted to launch a drone attack against Maduro, everyone on that stage would have been vaporized and nobody would have seen a thing.

    This drone story sounds like the old tales about exploding cigars that the CIA supposedly tried to take out Fidel with.

  9. The few remaining have already either plugged in to someone who is plugged in or have already set a travel date. As you say Dale, Venezuela is a very broken lady right now. No national pride what so ever. Just shame and depression and more stress then anywhere as people are bombarded with the instability and the unpredictability of our political and more importantly, our economic climate. There are however a very large percentage of Venezuelans who are more than happy to sit in front of their homes, day in and day out. Talking about whatever and playing dominos and happy and stress free. It just doesn’t bother them that they don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out and they are happy to conform to anything.

    We are all just not built the same I guess but I must insist that this fight is not ours (we who are not content to sit in front of our homes and watch the world go by, not knowing where our next meal is coming from) and we must cheer from the sidelines until those hills around Caracas come streaming down to rescind their socialist dreams.

  10. Uncle ALWAYS goes the route of simplicity. Radio Shack drones with C4? NO F*CKING WAY! Too much to go wrong. (as seen) If it was an attempt on Maduro (I don’t believe it for one second), it was pure amateur hour.

    I’ve said it before. If Uncle wanted Maduro dead, he’d been dead in 2014. All it would take is a bribe, and he would be found the next morning with an ice pick in his skull. Maduro is just the patsy. He is NOBODY. He is ignorant. He isn’t well spoken… he is an uneducated bus driver with ZERO likability. He is a parasite riding on the coat tails of Chavez. Uncle has more to gain with that buffoon in office than by making him a martyr.

    Maduro is doing all of the hard work for Uncle. Maduro will be gone soon enough. And when the next buffoon comes along, he will inherit Chavismo and HE will be gone. The point being, Chavismo must be seen to fail over and over again.

    A lesson has to be learned.

    • Go to any barrio or border zone in Venezuela, and you can buy even grenade launchers for the right amount.

      In fact, C4 is EASIER TO FIND in Venezuela than whole milk.

  11. Naky should do a better job vetting and curating her links because it’s mostly classic gaslighting by the regime and its shills. One of her links to twiter has Eva Golinger and Luigi Bracci on there. Naky, do you have any idea who these two are? They are the top online shills (re: disinformation operations) for the regime.

    Pura paja.

  12. If Eva Golinger is involved, it suggests the order to protect Maduro from this self inflicted fuckup, came from Havana.

    Eva only stoops this low on orders from Havana IMO.

  13. Reading the comments I’m pretty sure that maduro and all his cronies could get ousted this noon and filmed tied and gagged and people would still be at denial babbling on how that’s just “staged by the g2” and basically masturbating their little “I’m always right” brain lobules by claiming that “people in Venezuela is useless and the country is worthless, just leave that shithole”

    Or even worse, this whole “it’s all a peine” narrative fits TOO WELL into the classic MUDERO bullshit that does everything to convince people to participate into the trampamatic frauds to validate the tyranny because “no one’s actually gonna do anything else and you’re alone”

  14. Very poor reporting by Wapo and NYT. Nicolas Casey, you are a great reprter when reporting from the ground but you are not versed in venezuelan government disinformation operations and the type of reporting this requires. Your latest is pretty sorry.

  15. Uh oh. You know there is trouble when even RT and Sputnik have dropped the whole Venezuela assassination attempt from its headlines within 48 hours. Methinks even Putin (who loves nothing more than to rub Uncles face in it) has had second thoughts on this Chavista fiasco.

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