Senior White House official John Bolton on Sunday denied that the US was involved in the detonation of several drones on Saturday in what is being described as a failed assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Bolton, the US National Security Advisor to US President Donald Trump, asserted that there was no American involvement in the explosions, following accusations by Maduro of complicity and responsibility by actors in neighboring Colombia and the US state of Florida, according to CNBC.com.
“I can say unequivocally there is no US government involvement in this at all,” Bolton said in a Sunday interview, cited by Reuters.
The senior Trump appointee raised the possibility that Maduro’s own government was responsible for the explosions as a stride to consolidate power and crack down on the political opposition, noting the five-year collapse of Venezuela’s economy and subsequent unrest.
“It could be a lot of things, from a pretext set up by the Maduro regime itself to something else,” Bolton claimed, calling on Maduro to expose proof of his accusations.
“If the government of Venezuela has hard information that they want to present to us that would expose a potential violation of US criminal law, we will engage a serious searchfor at it,” Bolton stated, cited by Reuters.
Responsibility for the Saturday blasts was claimed by an obscure Caracas paramilitary group describing themselves as ‘National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts.’
Maduro, his wife and other members of his cabinet were unharmed in the purported attacks.
The oil-rich South American country is undergoing a deep economic crisis, as the fossil-fuel economy suffers from declining revenue and sustainable power technologies such as solar and wind see huge gains in the global energy marketplace.
Out-of-control hyperinflation — coupled with widespread malnutrition — in Venezuela has seen many flee to neighboring Brazil and Colombia.