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Blasts damage diplomatic buildings in Venezuela

Bomb squadron officers carry a tool box outside Colombia's consulate, which was damaged by an explosion Tuesday in Caracas.
Bomb squadron officers carry a tool box outside Colombia's consulate, which was damaged by an explosion Tuesday in Caracas.

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CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) -- Powerful explosions only minutes apart early Tuesday badly damaged the Spanish Embassy and the Colombian consulate in Caracas, officials said, injuring four people.

Leopoldo Lopez, mayor of the district of Chacao in Caracas where the embassy is located, told local media there had been attacks at both locations, injuring a guard at the embassy.

The first blast occurred at 2:10 a.m. (1:10 a.m. ET) at the Spanish Embassy -- located in the La Castellana neighborhood -- badly damaging the main entrance to the property, plus shattering glass and shearing the balconies off adjacent buildings.

A second blast at 2:25 a.m. (2:25 a.m. ET) devastated the Colombian consulate in the Chacaito neighborhood and heavily damaged a two-story building across the street.

A consulate guard was injured in the blast, along with two others.

The explosions came about 24 hours after President Hugo Chavez, on his weekly radio and TV show called "Hello President," warned the world to stop meddling in the affairs of his troubled South American nation.

Last week, Venezuelan police locked up a popular strike leader on "civil rebellion" charges.

During the broadcast, Chavez accused the United States and Spain of siding with his enemies, warned Colombia he might break off diplomatic relations, and reprimanded the chief mediator in peace talks for stepping "out of line."

The U.S. State Department warned that the Venezuelan president's words could incite violence.

"Inflammatory statements such as those attributed to President Chavez are not helpful in advancing the dialogue between the government of Venezuela and the opposition," Philip Reeker, a State Department spokesman, said ahead of the Tuesday attacks.

He also said that "they are concerned that heightened political rhetoric has contributed unnecessarily to some of the recent violence in Caracas."

-- Journalist Adrian Criscaut contributed to this report.


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