The alleged conspiracy was revealed in a press conference on Monday by Interior Affairs Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who said that figures in Venezuela, Colombia and the United States were involved.
Rodriguez informed that on 15 August Venezuelan authorities captured two Colombian citizens in a hotel in Miranda state, near Caracas. They were found in possession of two rifles with laser sight, ten Venezuelan army uniforms, and a photograph of President Maduro and National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello.
The two men, of eighteen and twenty two years of age, were presumably contracted by a Colombian named Alejandro Caicedo Alfonso (alias David), and crossed the border into Venezuela on 13 August. The men are part of a “destabilization group” of about ten people, said Rodriguez.
The Venezuelan intelligence service SEBIN is also searching for a Venezuelan man named Carlos Salcedo, who authorities believe is involved in the alleged plot and is responsible for supplying the rifles to the apprehended Colombians.
Interior affairs minister Rodriguez said that the government believes the suspected plot to assassinate Maduro is part of a conspiracy planned by the Venezuelan “extreme right wing” in collaboration with counterparts in Colombia and the United States.
Authorities consider the “brains” of such an operation to be Luis Posada Carriles. Cuban-born Carriles is resident in Miami, and is wanted by Venezuela and Cuba on extradition charges for his alleged role in the bombing on a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 78 people.
Further, Rodriguez accused former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe of involvement in the alleged plot. “I am denouncing that this conspiracy is being woven from Miami, in connection with Bogota, and that Alvaro Uribe, without any doubt, has knowledge of everything happening here,” he stated.
President Nicolas Maduro responded to Rodriguez’s affirmations by demanding U.S. President Barack Obama confirm whether he possesses information of any such conspiracy, and if so, to act accordingly.
“President Obama, is it that you don’t know that in the United States the Posada Carriles group conspires, monitored and tutored by Otto Reich and Roger Noriega, to commit terrorist acts and presidential assassination in Venezuela?” asked Maduro.
The Venezuelan president further stated that if Obama does know of such a plot and does not act, then “he is implicated”.
Maduro said that the alleged assassination plot would be in order to “destroy” the Bolivarian revolution, arguing that, “To assassinate me is to begin a civil war in Venezuela”.
“I am a guarantee of peace…I’ll do everything within my ability to continue building peace in this country,” the Venezuelan head of state continued.
The conservative opposition in Venezuela meanwhile has taken a dismissive attitude to the information, with opposition leader Henrique Capriles referring to the government’s accusations as “lies” and “recycled stories”.
Alvaro Uribe and Posada Carriles have likewise denied the veracity of the allegations, calling them “infamy” and “absurd”.
Nicolas Maduro responded by commenting that among the Venezuelan opposition, “there is a strange nervousness; they try to make it [the alleged plot] into a joke”, which he said made the opposition “look bad in front of the country”.
The Venezuelan government has previously alerted the country to suspected plots to assassinate President Maduro, claiming that since the death of late President Hugo Chavez extremist conspiracy efforts have increased in an attempt to “finish” the Bolivarian revolution.
The most notorious of these alerts occurred two days before the April 14 presidential election, when authorities announced the capture of armed paramilitaries in possession of explosives who were presumed to be on a mission to “destabilize” the election.