Assassination Attempt with Drones Brings into Question U.S. Defenses


Over the past year, there have been headlines about the devastating economic situation in Venezuela and dissatisfaction with the current government. Now Venezuela is making headlines in regards to a recent assassination attempt. Saturday, August 4th, an alleged terrorist group took matters into their own hands as they attempted to assassinate the president using drones.

Amidst already troubled times, Venezuelans witnessed an attempt on the life of their controversial president, Nicolas Maduro. The attack occurred in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, during the president’s speech for the 81st anniversary of the national guard. Seven national guardsmen were injured, but the president was unharmed.

The failed assassination attempt was made using two drones. Loaded with C-4 explosives, it seems the perpetrators wanted these drones to detonate towards the president, but the Venezuelan military was able to electronically alter the course of one using signal blockers while the other crashed into an apartment complex. The New York Times reports that the incident is the first “known use of drones against a head of state.”

Consequently, this news seems especially disconcerting for the United States as news outlets like the Chicago Tribune report that the U.S. could be vulnerable to a similar attack. Due to present limitations, officials believe that new authorities need to be made “to combat threatening drones.” Senior Homeland Security officials state that the attack in Venezuela affirms the need for increased measures when dealing with drones. Known methods of detaining drones include electromagnetic signals and the deployment of nets, but these have limited approved use outside of the military. Proactively, a proposal for remote identification technology is being finalized by the FAA with comments to come later this year.

Presently, the Venezuelan government has arrested 6 people they believe to be the terrorists responsible for the attack on their president, and lawmakers are constructing ways in which such an attack could be mitigated here in the U.S. However, drones are easily accessible, and their involvement in an assassination attempt is still unnerving. It is uncertain if and when we will start to see changes being implemented, and how effective they could be. It is also uncertain how these security concerns will affect the futures of drone hobbyists and commercial pilots who earn their living flying drones.

I am a writer and an artist based in Georgia. Specializing in illustration, graphic design, and video art, I love to explore the new ways technology intersects with art. I think drones have done amazing things for photography and video art, making what would previously be costly and difficult more accessible. As a complete novice, it was only recently that I saw what independent artists could do with their drones, and I continue to be impressed by the sights that drones are able to explore and the images they can capture. Instagram: @tyesha.ferron


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