Cuban exiles accused of plotting to assassinate Venezuelan president

CARACAS, Venezuela, Tuesday August 6, 2013 – Venezuelan government officials have accused members of Cuba’s exile community in Miami and ex-CIA agent Luís Posada Carriles of plotting to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro.

“The plans to physically eliminate Maduro are underway,” said National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello on Venezuela state-run television.

“Where is this coming from? Miami… from Cubans who went there many years ago — who are living there — and have contact with Venezuela,” he added.

Cabello claimed Posada Carriles is working with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to hatch the plot, which he claimed had raised US$2.5 million and amassed 400 mercenaries.

He said the armed men had entered the country through Zulia state, which borders Colombia, and the government foiled a recent assassination plot against Maduro.

According to the Miami Herald, at various times since Maduro won April’s hotly contested election, the Venezuelan government has fingered shadowy El Salvadoran or Colombian mercenaries as being behind the plot. Uribe and former US diplomats also have been named, the paper claims.

It said Carriles, a former CIA agent who lives in the US and has deep ties to South Florida, is wanted in Venezuela and Cuba for the 1976 bombing of a Cubana de Aviación flight that killed 73 people off Barbados.

Cabello said while he’s seen the reports that Carriles, who is in his 80s, is frail and old, he “doesn’t work alone; he has a large network around him.”

But Venezuela opposition leader, Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles, who opposed Maduro in the last elections, has dismissed the latest allegations, stating that the government is “talking about a supposed assassination attempt to distract our nation” from the alleged economic malaise.

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