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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is seen at left before the assassination attempt. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's leadership crisis reached new heights when a drone strike targeted the president during a live broadcast of his speech to soldiers.

Why it matters: Maduro left the scene unwounded but, politically, the event will significantly damage his ability to rule. A viral video of the first lady and the military top brass looking scared, and images of soldiers running for cover, is just the latest illustration of how exposed the government is to crisis.

Maduro, former leader Hugo Chávez's designated successor to the presidency in 2013, has survived longer than expected:

  • This event constitutes the third time he has suffered a major public embarrassment on live television: A rogue actor attacked the podium when Maduro gave his first state of the union address in 2013; a working class assembly egged and jeered him last year; and now, he has suffered an apparent near-direct hit on a government event.

What's next:

  • The pressure against Maduro is coming from within his movement as much as from the opposition.
  • Ruling party rival Diosdado Cabello may now see a new opportunity to capitalize on Maduro's weaknesses.
  • The event seems likely to re-catalyze opposition in the streets.
  • The Trump administration may sense a new opportunity to exploit divisions through a new round of sanctions.

Michael McCarthy is a research fellow at American University’s CLALS, an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Elliot School for International Affairs and the founder and CEO of Caracas Wire.

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.