Tags: Venezuela | venezuela | Nicolas Maduro | president | coup | Antonio Ledezma | us

US Denies Role in Alleged Venezuelan 'Coup Plot'

By    |   Friday, 20 February 2015 08:26 AM

The State Department issued a denial Thursday of any involvement in last week’s purported coup attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is claiming that an attack on the presidential palace was in the works.

"The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement late Thursday, according to The Hill. "The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means."

She added that the Venezuelan government "needs to deal with the grave situation it faces," referring to the political unrest there and the country’s declining economy.

CNN reported last week that Maduro claimed his government thwarted a U.S.-backed coup plot that involved a plan to commandeer a military jet and attack the presidential palace or a public demonstration that he was attending.

He also claims that the teleSUR network's headquarters and Venezuela's Defense Ministry were targeted.

On Thursday, police dressed in camouflage broke down doors and fired shots into the office of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an opposition leader.  Ledezma, accused of attempting to plot against the socialist-run Venezuelan government, was taken into custody.

CNN reported that Maduro is claiming U.S. officials paid money and provided visas to those involved in the plot.

"On the orders of state prosecutors, he was captured and will be processed by the Venezuelan justice system for crimes committed against the peace of the country," Maduro said.

Ledezma is a member of the radical opposition wing that called for "La Salida" — the exit — of Maduro during the violent opposition protests in 2014 that left 43 dead, according to Reuters.

The 59-year-old Ledezma has twice been elected mayor, but the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez stripped him of most of his powers and transferred them to a newly created government entity, according to Fox News.

In her statement, Psaki said "the United States is not promoting unrest in Venezuela nor are we attempting to undermine Venezuela’s economy or its government."

"We remain Venezuela’s largest trading partner. Venezuela’s economic and political problems are the result of the policies of the Venezuelan government.

"The Venezuelan government should stop attempting to distract attention from the country’s economic and political problems and focus on finding real solutions through democratic dialogue among Venezuelans."

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The State Department issued a denial Thursday of any involvement in last week's purported coup attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is claiming that an attack on the presidential palace was in the works.
venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, president, coup, Antonio Ledezma, us
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2015-26-20
Friday, 20 February 2015 08:26 AM
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