Venezuela’s socialist government says it has derailed a coup bid, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro.
The claim is the latest in a series by under-pressure Maduro, who is facing popular backlash at home over a failing economy and spiraling inflation, as well as increasing international isolation. The far-left leader is embroiled in a power struggle with Juan Guaido, the man the United States and scores of other countries recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate interim ruler.
Maduro warned that he would be “ruthless in a revolutionary counter-offensive against an attempted fascist coup . . . ruthless!”
In a speech broadcast nationwide, an agitated Maduro denounced a “fascist attempt to assassinate me” and lashed out at Colombian President Ivan Duque saying his “complicity” was “evident.”
Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez earlier said the alleged coup involved active duty and retired military officers, and was to have been executed last weekend.
“We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d’Etat. We were in all the conferences,” he said, suggesting informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters at least six of whom had been detained.
The plotters hoped to spring Raul Baduel, a former defense minister under late president Hugo Chavez, from jail to proclaim him president, Rodriguez said.