Chaos erupted during a speech that Maduro was giving in Caracas this afternoon, as an explosion of unknown origin sent the president and his entourage scrambling for safety, and caused soldiers to break ranks and run away in panic.
Maduro was speaking at an event commemorating the National Bolivarian Guard. The event was being broadcast live on television, as is the norm.
At one moment in the speech, Maduro was cut mid-sentence by what sounded like a small explosion. Based on his reaction and those of his entourage–which included first lady Cilia Flores–the explosion occurred in front of them and above them at an undetermined distance,
The camera that was fixed on Maduro then cuts away abruptly, and turns to a close-up of a soldier. The soldier stands stoically for a moment, but his attention is quickly drawn to the commotion. The camera then cuts away a second time, and shows a group of soldiers near the stand where Maduro was speaking moving about busily. Then, towards the end of the clip, the dozens of soldiers break ranks and run away in disarray from an unseen threat.
While the cameras are focused on the avenue, a microphone captures what sounds like someone who was on the stand with Maduro, possibly a member of his security details. The man can be heard giving our short commands, and says “Let’s go out the right side”.
Below, the video:
A second video shared on social media captured the moments after the explosion. The woman recording observers that “the rats” (the soldiers and regime officials) are scrambling away from the scene. The woman also says that she heard two explosions.
The event appears to have occurred shortly before 5:45 PM local time.
In the video below, National Guard soldiers file away from the scene of the explosion at approximately 6:20 PM:
Th images below allegedly show the aftermath of the explosion. A plume of gray smoke towers above the buildings near the scene:
The Twitter user below shared another shot allegedly from the scene, this one showing black smoke running alongside a building. The man claims that the explosion occurred in one of the building’s kitchens:
It is not clear at this time if the event that occurred was in fact an explosion, or what its origin was.
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