Venezuela: 32 People Arrested for Alleged Maduro Assassination Plots

Venezuelan authorities have reportedly dismantled five operations to assault military units and kill political leaders with alleged US support.
The details of the coup attempts were first revealed by President Maduro who called for street mobilizations to defend the country. (X: @MinpublicoVEN)

Caracas, January 25, 2024 ( – Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced that multiple individuals have been detained for alleged roles in five dismantled violent plots, including a plan to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro.

In a televised address on Monday, Saab announced the arrest of 32 people, including civilians and military officers. Additionally, 11 arrest warrants have been issued for opposition activists living abroad and exiled military. 

“From May 2023 until now, five violent actions have been attempted against Venezuela. The military officers involved were summoned directly from Colombia, in collaboration with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Colombian army at the time,” the attorney general told the press.

Saab claimed that the foiled “terrorist plots” were all connected and were part of a broader plan to destabilize the country. The five schemes consisted of military espionage, attacks against military units in San Cristóbal (Western Venezuela), unrest across the country, and the assassination of Maduro, Defense Minister Vladímir Padrino López and Táchira governor Freddy Bernal.

The prosecutor said that all suspects had “confessed and revealed information about the plans” and “there will be no legal or juridical mitigation for any of them.” The charges include conspiracy, treason, terrorism, criminal association, attempted murder, disclosure of military secrets, and illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition.

“There will be new arrests,” —assured Saab in his press conference— “because there are groups that call themselves political, opposition, but they belong to Nazi fascist parties.” The Venezuelan official did not specify which organizations or people he was referring to.

On Wednesday, Venezuela’s Defense Ministry issued a statement announcing the demotion and expulsion of 33 military personnel from the country’s armed forces for their alleged involvement in criminal and terrorist actions.

In previous days, President Maduro had denounced the violent plots and directly accused the CIA and DEA of conspiring against his administration. He also called supporters to take to the streets in the face of more regime-change conspiracies.

“If, at any point, the fascists attempt to harm me or launch an attack, I entrust you with the responsibility of taking action to restore justice and peace in Venezuela. Activate the Bolivarian Fury,” Maduro declared on Tuesday during a rally commemorating the 66th anniversary of the ousting of dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez. 

On Wednesday, the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) likewise organized large marches in Caracas and across the country to reject the new destabilization efforts.

Venezuela has been the target of numerous unsuccessful coup attempts and assassination plots, many of which have been backed by the US. In 2020, Venezuelan authorities thwarted “Operation Gideon,” a failed scheme featuring US Green Berets Luke Denman and Airan Berry. The plan, orchestrated by fellow former serviceman Jordan Goudreau and exiled former Venezuelan officers, aimed to infiltrate the country by sea to oust the Maduro government.

The two American mercenaries were recently part of a prisoner swap between Caracas and Washington, which saw the release of Venezuelan envoy Alex Saab who spent more than two years in a federal lockup in Miami, Florida. 

According to Caracas, the investigations into the recently unveiled plots had been kept secret due to the ongoing negotiations with the Biden administration to exchange prisoners and for sanctions relief measures.

On Wednesday, US State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller issued a communique expressing “concern” over the recent arrest orders and detentions. He called “for the end of politically motivated harassment” and urged the Maduro government “to adhere to the electoral roadmap agreement” established last year in Barbados with the US-backed opposition.

In response, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Yván Gil condemned Miller’s “cynical” statement and criticized the US for purportedly condemning Caracas’ efforts to maintain peace while simultaneously detaining peaceful demonstrators protesting the genocide in Gaza.

“With such lack of coherence, it is not surprising that Washington advocates in favor of the architects of the foiled terrorist plots in Venezuela and even offers them its complicit backing,” read the communique.

Gil reassured that the 2024 electoral process will take place in peace and with full sovereignty despite “the threats, evident interventionism and imperialist blackmail.”