By Associated Press - Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Venezuela expert says it’s likely President Nicolas Maduro will use a suspected assassination attempt to purge disloyal officials and further clamp down on liberties.

Authorities in Venezuelan said Saturday that drones loaded with explosives targeted Maduro speaking at a military celebration, but exploded before reaching the president.

David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America says the amateurish attack didn’t appear to be staged by Maduro’s government for political gain.

However, Smilde says it prompted embarrassing TV images of Maduro cut off mid-sentence with droves of soldiers running away in fear, making the president appear vulnerable.

Despite the optics, Smilde says Maduro will use it to concentrate power, further restricting liberty while purging the government and armed forces.

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