Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that he escaped an assassination attempt by an explosive-laden drone during a military parade in Caracas on Saturday. Seven soldiers were wounded in the attack, according to the Venezuelan government.

While the government blamed the opposition, Madura said Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, backed by financiers from the US, was behind the assassination attempt.

Colombia said the accusation was baseless and denied any involvement in the incident.

Venezuelan state TV showed the president looking up confused in the middle of his speech followed by a sound of an explosion which made soldiers lined up for the parade scatter.

The 55-year-old Maduro had taken over the reins of power from his mentor, the late Hugo Chavez, in 2013 and has completely sidelined the weak and fractured opposition by taking control over courts and the electoral body. He has the full support of the military, which holds key portfolios in the government.

The socialist leader has accused the opposition and the US of working together to remove him from power.

Maduro has been able to cling on to power in Venezuela, which has one of the largest reserves of crude oil in the world and is a top exporter of oil, despite the economy being in ruins and never-ending political turmoil.

The resulting civil unrest has seen thousands of citizens fleeing the country, where food and medical supplies are in short supply and inflation is nearing one million per cent.

Maduro blames the economic woes on foreign enemies who want to oust him by waging an economic war.

Maduro was attending the parade which marked the first anniversary of the Constitutional Assembly − packed with his loyalists − which took over powers from the opposition majority National Assembly.

In 2017, there were four months of violent street protests, in which 125 people died, against Maduro government's decision to create the Constitutional Assembly, which was aimed at diluting the powers of the National Assembly, where the opposition won a majority in the 2015 elections.

The Supreme Court under Maduro's order declared the National Assembly dissolved though it continues to operate almost all its decisions are annulled.

The US and other countries have said that democracy is being undermined in Venezuela.