Nicolas Maduro accuses White House of direct role in assassination plot
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of attempting to assassinate him, claiming he has uncovered a plot that leads directly to the White House.
Mr Maduro repeated his frequent warning that a US invasion is imminent – this time giving some details but no evidence.
He accused President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton of overseeing a plot to replace him with a dictator. He alleged that Washington is using "dirty dollars, bled from the US empire" to train 734 mercenaries with in neighboring Colombia to carry out the plot.
"I have no doubts that the US administration including John Bolton has plans for Venezuela," Mr Maduro said on state TV. "I also have absolute and unending faith in Venezuela’s armed forces."
Venezuela is in a historic economic crisis after two decades of socialist rule. The United States has imposed financial sanctions on Mr Maduro and dozens of top officials to press for what it calls a return to democracy.
The crisis is driving tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants into neighboring Brazil, Colombia and other nations.
"We are facing a fact that affects all of our nations," said Alejandro Ordonez, Colombia’s ambassador to the Organisation of American States said.
Mr Maduro’s comments follow the arrival in Venezuela on Monday of two of Russian Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers, drawing criticism from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
"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," Mr Pompeo tweeted.
Mr Maduro claimed the plot against him includes Colombia’s newly elected President Ivan Duque and Brazil’s conservative President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who takes office in January.
Mr Maduro’s second term begins Jan. 10, following elections this year many foreign nations reject as illegitimate.
While taking a forceful tone, Mr Maduro left open the option for dialogue with rival nations for a peaceful solution, calling on anybody in Trump’s administration to sit down for talks.
"Venezuela does not kneel down, does not surrender. Venezuela will continue in peace and democracy," Mr Maduro said. "Let the American empire know!"