Two high-ranking military officials were detained in the ongoing investigation into the attempt on President Nicolas Maduro’s life using explosive-laden drones, Venezuela’s leading prosecutor said.
The two join a lawmaker already in custody in what authorities say was a complex plot to assassinate Maduro, the first lady and senior members of government at a military parade August 4 in Caracas. Public Prosecutor Tarek William Saab told reporters that an additional 20 people in Venezuela, Colombia and the US are wanted in connection with the bombing.
“So far there are 14 detainees who have been presented and charged in court,” he said. Saab identified Gen. Alejandro Perez and Col. Pedro Zambrano of the National Guard among the suspects presented in court on Monday. Congressmen Juan Requesens, 29, who was arrested last week, was also charged with treason and attempted murder.
The drone attack comes as the ruling socialists struggle to address the collapse of the economy, hyperinflation and acute shortages of food and medicines that’s seen millions flee. While Maduro has largely managed to quash political dissent through his control of institutions, Venezuela’s deepening hardship has stoked discontent through the ranks of the armed forces, long considered a key power broker here.
As recently as May, scores of highly-decorated servicemen and women unsuccessfully conspired to launch a palace coup and put the socialist president on trial for trampling the constitution and destroying the oil-based economy.