RealNews

Explosions Rip Diplomatic Offices in Caracas

Powerful explosions outside two diplomatic offices shattered windows and nerves early today, leaving four people wounded and many others uncertain about the prospects for a peaceful solution to the political crisis here. One blast ripped the glass and steel facade of the Colombian Consulate downtown, twisting a thick steel entry gate and ruining two of the building’s four floors. A second blast, outside the foreign aid office of the Spanish Embassy in a residential area, knocked a gate off its hinges and punched a hole through a wall. In both cases, people were wounded by flying glass, authorities said. The explosions, which the police said were extraordinarily large and which neighbors said felt like earthquakes, came two days after President Hugo Chávez publicly berated Spain and Colombia for interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Mr. Chávez, who has outlasted an attempted coup and an opposition strike, had been criticized for the arrest of an opposition leader as well as for not assisting Colombia in its fight against leftist guerrillas. The government denied any involvement in the blasts and ordered tighter security for foreign missions and the diplomatic corps. The deputy foreign minister, Arévalo Méndez, said the bombs were the work of a “sick and confused mind that had nothing to do” with any criticisms Mr. Chávez might have voiced against other nations. Full Story

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