BOGOTA, Colombia -- In the latest twist on long-running allegations, Venezuelan officials Wednesday accused members of Miami’s Cuban exile community and former CIA agent Luís Posada Carriles of plotting to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro, as he struggles to fill the shoes of late leader Hugo Chávez.
“The plans to physically eliminate Maduro are under way,” National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello told state-run TV. “Where is this coming from? Miami … from Cubans who went there many years ago — who are living there — and have contact with Venezuela.”
Although he provided few details, Cabello said Posada Carriles is working with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to hatch the plot, which he claimed had raised $2.5 million and amassed 400 mercenaries. He said the armed men had entered the country through Zulia state, which borders Colombia, and that the government foiled an assassination plot against Maduro that was scheduled for last Saturday.
Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres said that along with Uribe, former Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, as well as someone he identified as Eduardo Macaya, who lives in Miami, were involved. Rodríguez also said the same groups were plotting against the socialist governments of Ecuador and Bolivia.
At various times since Maduro won April’s hotly contested election, the administration has fingered shadowy El Salvadoran or Colombian mercenaries as potential assassins. Uribe and former U.S. diplomats are often named. While the administration has repeatedly said it would provide proof of its claims, little hard evidence has been forthcoming.
Posada Carriles, a former CIA agent who lives in the United States 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.
Miranda Gov. Henrique Capriles, who ran against Maduro, took to Twitter to blast the latest allegations.
“Once again, the corrupt ones are talking about a supposed assassination attempt to distract our nation from the disaster of this Government,]” he wrote.