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Venezuela accuses US envoy of plotting President Maduro murder

Published on May 29, 2014 8:04 AM

CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuela's ruling party accused opposition members and the US ambassador to Colombia on Wednesday of plotting a coup and the assassination of President Nicolas Maduro.

The accusations came as the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials responsible for a crackdown on anti-government protests that have left at least 42 people dead.

Surrounded by socialist party leaders, Jorge Rodriguez, the mayor of the Caracas municipality of Libertador, said US ambassador Kevin Whitaker acted as a coordinator "in a coup in collusion with Venezuelan politicians and civilians." Rodriguez showed reporters emails written by former opposition lawmaker Maria Corina Machado and other government critics in which they allegedly discuss how to heat up a political crisis to oust Maduro.

Rodriguez read an email in which Machado allegedly told former presidential candidate Diego Arria of the need to "step up efforts" and obtain financial help to "annihilate Maduro." The mayor said the three-month-old anti-government protests that have rocked Venezuela are "a phase" in an elaborate plot by the far-right, which he said planned street barricades, a military coup and the assassination of Maduro.

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