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It thwarted ‘coup’ plot

  • The Fiji Times
  • 28 Jun 2019

to act through political and diplomatic means” in Venezuela.

Mr Rodriguez presented testimony from one of the detainees — Lieutenant Carlos Saavedra, identified as the nephew of retired General Ramon Saavedra, who was arrested on Wednesday by Venezuelan intelligence agents.

According to Mr Rodriguez, surveillance of the plotters and Lt Saavedra’s recorded “confession” revealed that the plan envisaged the takeover of three military bases, including La Carlota air base in Caracas.

Recordings, surveillance

The plotters hoped to spring Raul Baduel — a former defense minister under late president Hugo Chavez — from jail to proclaim him president, Mr Rodriguez said.

Mr Maduro demoted Baduel last year as part of a purge of senior military officers, which also included another general, Antonio Rivero, allegedly another leader of the coup bid.

The head of the National Assembly, Mr Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president in January on the grounds Mr Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

Venezuelan authorities recently said that 17 people had been charged with attempting a coup on April 30, during Mr Guaido’s failed attempt to inspire a military uprising.

Only about 30 military personnel joined Mr Guaido, and the revolt fizzled after two days of deadly clashes.

Several people close to Mr Guaido have since been detained, though not the lawmaker himself.

However, in the wake of Mr Rodriguez’s accusations, he told reporters he had “frustrated” an attempt to kidnap several members of his entourage on a Caracas highway.

The kidnappers were armed and “dressed as civilians” he said.

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