Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused US National Security Advisor John Bolton of preparing a plot to murder him, and also has called out Colombian leader Ivan Duque as Bolton’s accomplice.
“John Bolton is leading the plan to unleash violence and conduct a coup to introduce a transitional government” in Venezuela, Maduro said at a press-conference, which was broadcast live on his Facebook page. “Bolton is preparing a plan for my assassination.”
Trump’s national security adviser has organized the training of mercenaries and paramilitary units “in various places” to be used against Venezuela, he said.
Maduro claimed that more than 730 armed thugs are ready to launch provocations and to attack military bases in Venezuela.
According to the Venezuelan leader, Bolton’s plot is being carried out with the heavy involvement of Colombia, with its president Ivan Duque being “his accomplice.” Maduro then slammed Duque as Washington’s puppet, who “can’t even go to the toilet without permission from the US ambassador in Bogota.”
In early August, blasts were heard as Maduro attended a military parade in the capital, Caracas. The Venezuelan authorities announced that it was a failed assassination attempt against the president, which involved drones carrying bombs. Other reports insisted that the panic actually was caused by an explosion of household gas.
Maduro returned to that incident during his press-conference, saying that he had “no doubts that the drones were prepared in Colombia under the supervision of [then Colombian president Juan Manuel] Santos, but on the direct order from the White House.”
Colombia’s Foreign Ministry has said it “categorically rejects” Maduro’s accusations as well as his “unconvincing, disrespectful and slanderous words about an imaginary war that Colombia plans to start” against Venezuela.
US President Donald Trump’s administration has been vocal about its desire to see the socialist president removed from power in oil-rich Venezuela. Washington has branded Maduro a “dictator,” responsible for a crackdown on the country’s opposition. Several high-ranked US officials even mulled what they called a “humanitarian intervention” into the country.
Last year, the US imposed harsh sanctions against Venezuela’s officials and its economy, including the oil sector. The American pressure contributed to the severe social and economic crisis as the nation was hit by hyperinflation, the devaluation of the national currency and a shortage of basic necessities.
The collapse of living standards has forced more than three million people to leave the country this year in search of a better life elsewhere in Latin America, according to the UN.