"Shield of love" sounds like it could have been a pop hit by Neil Diamond, or the BeeGees or something. Instead, a "shield of love" is what Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro says protected him from an assassination attempt over the weekend. It must've been a shield of something protecting him, because it sure wasn't the hundreds of soldiers assembled at his speech. Video of the incident shows the soldiers scattering like kids fleeing a cooties shot on the playground.
Maduro was in the middle of a live televised speech when an apparent explosion caused a panic in the crowd. In the footage, you can see Maduro's wife, standing on his right, cringing and looking frightened. Then the live video feed cut to a close-up of soldiers, then a high-angle shot of the soldiers scrambling for cover.
Three hours later, Maduro was back on TV, having already uncovered a supposed conspiracy. Dictators are very fast detectives you know. He says two drones were carrying explosives intended for him, but that a "shield of love" protected him. He says the drones are the work of far-right extremists and dissidents living in Colombia and in Florida. He specifically blamed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. But Santos' office replied:
It is already the custom of the Venezuelan leader to permanently blame Colombia for any type of situation.
A group of dissident soldiers that call themselves "Soldiers in T-Shirts" claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying army snipers shot the drones loaded with C4 before they could reach the president's platform. But some residents near the site of Maduro's speech say the explosion was caused by a gas explosion at an apartment building.
Critics of Venezuela aren't buying Maduro's version of events. They say it's just a convenient excuse to round up army deserters and a way to distract the public from the country's struggle with severe food and medicine shortages.
No details or further evidence was provided because… socialism!
A Venezuela expert at the Washington Office on Latin America told The Washington Post that it's hard to imagine Maduro's government doesn't have footage of the drones if that is actually what happened. He says, "…if the government or someone else does not put out some footage of these drones or the explosions, it should be considered highly suspect."
The Venezuelan government says it has arrested "six terrorists," connected with the blast. No details or further evidence was provided because… socialism!