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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

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

5 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).