Skip to main content

Venezuela says it foiled plot to assassinate President Maduro

By Marilia Brocchetto and Ed Payne, CNN
updated 5:50 AM EDT, Tue June 11, 2013
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro enters the National Assembly before his inauguration in Caracas on April 19.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro enters the National Assembly before his inauguration in Caracas on April 19.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The government says two paramilitary groups plotted to kill Maduro
  • The groups are made up of nine Colombian citizens
  • Maduro won a tightly contested election against Henrique Capriles Radonski
  • Former President Hugo Chavez died in March

(CNN) -- Venezuela has thwarted a plan by two paramilitary groups to kill President Nicolas Maduro, state-run VTV reported Monday.

Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said members of the groups, made up of nine Colombian citizens, were arrested Sunday in the country's northwest before they were able to enter the capital, Caracas, with heavy weapons.

Intelligence officials are tracking a third group, he said.

"This may be part of a plan that was orchestrated from Colombia to kill President Maduro and de-stabilize the Venezuelan government," he said.

Chaos in Caracas after election
Capriles says Maduro is 'illegitimate'
Maduro calls for peace, welcomes recount

The two nations have had a contentious relationship since 2007 when then-President Hugo Chavez said he was cutting ties with Colombia and especially former President Alvaro Uribe. He said the Colombian president had bowed to pressure from Washington "to get rid of Chavez."

In March of this year, Maduro struck a similar tone, accusing Uribe of hatching a plan to send a paramilitary force into Venezuela to kill him.

An attorney for Uribe called Maduro "a desperate person who holds power illegitimately."

Maduro was sworn in as president on April 19 after winning a tightly contested election against Henrique Capriles Radonski. Election officials credited Maduro with 51% of the vote.

The election followed the death of Chavez, who died in March following a long battle with cancer. He was 58.

While both Maduro and Capriles have publicly called for peace after the announcement of the tight election results, tensions have been running high in Venezuela.

Venezuela's opposition has filed a lawsuit with the country's Supreme Court, contesting the results, citing election irregularities that totaled more than 180 pages.

Ahead of the suit, Capriles told CNN affiliate Globovision that the results were illegitimate and new elections should be held.

"According to the law," he said, "what should happen would be a new election, without any of the irregularities that we have denounced."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 5:51 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.
ADVERTISEMENT