Newscast Media CARACAS—Venezuelan authorities Wednesday said they uncovered a
plot by opposition leaders, international financiers and officials backed by the U.S.
State Department to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and take over the
At a press conference, top socialist leader and mayor of the capital Caracas Jorge
Rodriguez denounced the “complex plan” to assassinate Maduro and unleash a spiral
of violence in the country to justify foreign intervention.
Rodriguez said the plot, financed by “a multimillion-dollar fund” that has backed
different anti-government actions since February, was led by Venezuelan banker
Eligio Cedeno, a fugitive from justice in Venezuela.
The mayor also accused former rightwing deputy Maria Corina Machado of being
behind the schemes, saying several emails tie her directly to actions aimed at
fomenting violent regime change in Venezuela.
In one email, Machado mentions Kevin Whitaker, the U.S. ambassador to Colombia,
and says the U.S. has confirmed its support of the political opposition and signaled
what new steps should be taken.
“We have a bigger checkbook than the government,” another of Machado’s purported
“What we present today is part of a criminal investigation being carried out by the
administration of justice, because the Venezuelan opposition aims to destroy the
peace and constitutional order of our nation,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez asked the U.S. government to clarify whether it knew of Whitaker’s
contacts or if the official acted on his own. He also said the government will be
presenting its evidence of a planned military coup in coming days.
Venezuela has been rocked by violent protests since February promoted by hardline
opposition leaders demanding that Maduro step down. The clashes have left 42 dead,
835 injured and led to 2,500 people being detained, according to the Attorney
Also Wednesday, Venezuelan deputies rejected a U.S. congressional initiative to
apply sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of violating the human rights of
Venezuelan National Assembly Deputy Saul Ortega, of the ruling socialist party, said
the proposed sanctions were “inofficious,” as U.S. laws “lack jurisprudence” in the
South American nation.