Skip to main content

3 Venezuelan generals arrested, accused of coup plot

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 7:18 AM EDT, Wed March 26, 2014
Venezuela's President says his country has arrested three air force generals accused of plotting a coup. (File photo)
Venezuela's President says his country has arrested three air force generals accused of plotting a coup. (File photo)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says three generals were arrested
  • Maduro says the generals were plotting a coup
  • The arrests come after weeks of unrest and protests in Venezuela

(CNN) -- Venezuela's President says his country has arrested three air force generals accused of plotting a coup.

"Last night we captured three generals, who we had been investigating...three generals who were trying to turn the air force against the legitimately constituted government," President Nicolas Maduro said in remarks broadcast Tuesday on state-run VTV. "They were organizing a coup. This captured group has direct ties with sectors of the opposition, and they said that this week was the decisive week."

The generals, whom he did not name, will be charged in military court, he said.

Maduro revealed the arrests as he spoke to a commission of South American foreign ministers who are visiting his country as part of efforts to facilitate dialogue as political tensions mount.

Full interview: Maduro/Amanpour
What in the World? Venezuela protests

Weeks of clashes between opposition protesters and government forces have left at least 36 people dead, authorities say.

Protesters and government officials trade blame for the violence.

Last week, opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski blamed Maduro for fueling tensions.

"Nicolas threw gas on the fire. He and he alone will be responsible for how the situation develops," he said in a Twitter post.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour this month, Maduro was unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters.

Think about what the U.S. government would do if a political group laid out a road map for overthrowing President Barack Obama, Maduro said.

"What would happen in the United States if a group said they were going to start something in the United States so that President Obama leaves, resigns, to change the constitutional government of the United States?" Maduro said. "Surely, the state would react, would use all the force that the law gives it to re-establish order and to put those who are against the Constitution where they belong."

READ: Protests rage in Venezuela, one month on

READ: Venezuela: What's the crisis about?

READ: Most neighbors silent as Venezuela reels

CNN's Elwyn Lopez contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Unrest in Venezuela
updated 8:32 AM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
It's been a month since violent clashes in Venezuela began -- yet the conflict continues to rage.
updated 10:54 PM EST, Fri March 7, 2014
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters during weeks of unrest in the South American country.
updated 1:04 AM EST, Thu March 6, 2014
Venezuela's President severed diplomatic relations with Panama Wednesday, accusing the Central American nation of being a "lackey" for the United States.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
There's an attempted coup in progress in Venezuela, orchestrated and directed by elites in the United States, believes Maduro.
updated 9:43 AM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Student protesters pack the streets. Violence surges. Tear gas billows. Will Nicolas Maduro's rule be able to survive this crisis?
updated 10:29 PM EST, Fri February 21, 2014
At first CNN was ordered to leave the country -- now Venezuela's president says CNN can stay.
updated 3:30 PM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
When Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in to authorities, he did it on his terms -- and not before delivering a passionate message to his supporters.
updated 2:59 AM EST, Fri February 21, 2014
Here's a Q and A to bring you up to speed with what's going on.
updated 5:56 PM EST, Wed February 19, 2014
Who is the Harvard-educated politician leads the Venezuelan opposition? CNN's Rafael Romo reports.
updated 4:58 PM EST, Wed February 19, 2014
David Frum: The question is being asked: Is Chavismo finally cracking in Venezuela?
updated 9:22 AM EST, Wed February 19, 2014
Opposition protesters in Venezuela are flocking to the courthouse where Leopoldo Lopez is expected to appear.
updated 5:14 PM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Sen. John McCain reacts to the arrest of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, saying Venezuelans are fed up with socialism.
updated 6:59 PM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
Demonstrators pack public squares. Flames shoot into the air. Tear gas sends crowds scrambling. Bodies are carried from the streets.
ADVERTISEMENT