Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 October 2019

Maduro says US behind 'assassination plot' involving Brazil and Colombia

The president accused US National Security Advisor John Bolton of personally directing a plan to sow chaos

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela December 12, 2018. Reuters
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela December 12, 2018. Reuters

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro lashed out Wednesday at what he said was a plot to assassinate him directed by the White House – and involving the right-wing governments of Colombia and Brazil.

Mr Maduro accused US National Security Advisor John Bolton of personally directing a plan to sow chaos on Venezuelan soil, with the aim of overthrowing his socialist government.

The Venezuelan leader told foreign correspondents in Caracas that his government had "good information" that Bolton had been "assigning missions for military provocations on the border."

"I come again to denounce the plot which is being prepared from the White House to violate Venezuelan democracy, to assassinate me and to impose a dictatorial government in Venezuela," he said.

Troops were being trained in the United States and Colombia to carry out the plot, he alleged.

US President Donald Trump and his Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque have been sharply critical of Mr Maduro's leftist regime, and Trump in October hinted at a potential military response to resolve Venezuela's crippling economic crisis.

"Mr John Bolton has been assigned as chief of the plan, of the plot, to fill Venezuela with violence and seek a foreign military intervention, a coup d'etat, and impose what they call a transitional government council," said Mr Maduro, who said he had corroborating foreign sources for his claims.

"Brazil's military forces want peace. Nobody in Brazil wants the incoming government of Jair Bolsonaro to engage in a military adventure against the people of Venezuela," Mr Maduro said.

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The Venezuelan leader had already castigated Washington in a speech on Sunday, saying it planned to carry out a coup with support from Colombia, although on that occasion he did not mention Brazil.

Bolton and Bolsonaro met late last month in Rio de Janeiro – the first high-level meeting between a senior US official and the far-right leader, who takes office on January 1.

Mr Maduro raised Washington's ire this week by announcing military exercises on Venezuelan soil with the participation of Russia, which sent two nuclear-capable long-range bombers to Caracas.

The move drew condemnation from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He said the deployment was a case of "two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer".

Russia sent the planes following a visit to Moscow last week by Mr Maduro for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed support for the beleaguered socialist government.

Mr Maduro, 55, begins a second six-year term on January 10, having won elections in May that were boycotted by the opposition.

Updated: December 13, 2018 11:35 AM

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