CARACAS – Maduro said earlier that Colombia and the United States were conspiring to kill him, which both countries denied. An alleged defector revealed in March that the drones were bought in the US and taken to Colombia before the attack, reports the website Noticiero Digital.
As the portal indicates, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro blamed a leading opposition figure for stealing a large sum to kill him in August last year, an operation that failed.
“Today we know how the killing attempt was prepared in Colombia [and] who financed it,” Maduro said at a military ceremony in Caracas on Monday.
The killing operation cost “several million dollars, there are talks of over $20 million,” Maduro said. This money, he added, disappeared because it was “appropriated” by opposition MP Julio Borges.
Attempted murder of Maduro and what happened to Borges
On August 4, 2018, two drones loaded with explosives exploded during a military parade in Caracas, while Maduro was speaking at the event. The president escaped unharmed, but the explosion – which occurred prematurely – wounded several soldiers.
Maduro initially blamed Colombia and the US, which froze relations with Venezuela since Hugo Chávez’s leadership. Both Washington and Bogota rejected the charges.
A little-known clandestine group, called Flannel Soldiers, claimed responsibility for the attack the next day, saying the sniper hit the drones, which were allegedly loaded with C-4.
Four days after the attack, the Venezuelan Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Julio Borges, the former head of the National Assembly, accusing him of attempted murder and treason.
Borges, who lives in exile in Colombia, called the charges “absurd” and described the incident as an attempt by Maduro to distract the population from the worsening socioeconomic situation in the country.
Venezuela has requested the extradition of Borges to Colombia, which, in response, granted refugee status to the opposition. In March 2019, one of the alleged perpetrators expressed concern about the operation.
Deserter gives details on attempted murder
A man with no name and whose face was not shown told CNN that the drones were bought online in the US and taken to a rented farm in Colombia. The defector shared videos showing how they set up the devices and practiced field operation.
He also said he had met with several US officials three times after the attack. The meeting was organized to collect and study information on the operation, but “that’s all.”