Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro alleged today that he has uncovered an assassination plot that leads directly to the White House, accusing President Donald Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton of orchestrating the plot in a bid to replace the socialist Maduro with a U.S.-sanctioned dictator.
Maduro, who in recent months has been repeatedly warning Venezuelans that an American invasion is imminent, claims that the American government and military have armed and trained 734 mercenaries and have them ready for deployment out of neighboring Columbia, using “dirty dollars, bled from the U.S. empire” to fund the coup. Maduro also alleges that Columbian President Ivan Duque and Brazil President-elect Jair Bolsonaro are a part of the conspiracy, according to the Voice of America.
“I have no doubts that the U.S. administration including John Bolton has plans for Venezuela,” Maduro said.
“I also have absolute and unending faith in the Venezuela’s armed forces.”
Maduro provided no evidence to prove his assertions.
Maduro’s comments come during a week of increased tensions between Venezuela and the United States as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the arrival of two Russian nuclear-capable bombers in Venezuela on Monday.
“The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer,” Pompeo posted on Twitter.
Inside the coup plotting before the drone assassination attempt against Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro https://t.co/wWA1M1g8UM— Bloomberg (@business) August 18, 2018
Venezuela is currently mired in an economic crisis, causing tens of thousands of Venezuelans to seek greener pastures elsewhere, particularly in Columbia and Brazil. The United States has imposed financial sanctions on Maduro and several top Venezuelan government officials to pressure them for a return to democracy, according to the Associated Press. Maduro won re-election to a second term this year in a controversial election that many foreign nations have decried as illegitimate.
Maduro, who survived an assassination attempt in August, remains defiant.
“Venezuela does not kneel down, does not surrender. Venezuela will continue in peace and democracy,” Maduro said. “Let the American empire know!”
The United States has often supported or led regime changes in South America since the late 19th century, including Argentina (1976), Brazil (1964), Chile (1973), El Salvador (multiple instances), Guatemala (1954), Nicaragua (1979), Panama (1979), Paraguay (1954), and Uruguay (1973).
President Trump raised the possibility of a military intervention in August, according to Politico, but has since backed off that stance. In September, President Trump called the situation in Venezuela “totally unacceptable” and that the United States had to “take important steps to hold the regime accountable”.
“We’re prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists,” Trump said.