Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Venezuelan coup plotters 'met United States official'

Venezuelan coup plotters 'met United States official'

On August 4, during the Bolivarian National Armed Forces 81st-anniversary celebrations, two drones packed with C4 exploded in an attempt to assassinate president Maduro, several other government officials and guest. "We denounce the intervention plans and support for military conspirators by the government of the United States against Venezuela", he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Bloomberg News reported after the incident that in April, a number of Venezuelan military dissidents plotted in neighboring Colombia to overthrow Maduro, and met there with a second group, comprised mostly of civilians, who wanted to assassinate him.

Officials did not ultimately go through with the coup, but the meetings could damage the already-tense United States relations with Venezuela, according to The New York Times.

The New York Times has said the meetings took place over the a year ago, but came to nothing when it was decided not to stage a coup, after Washington refused to lend material support to rebellious Venezuelan officers.

Officials from President Donald Trump´s administration met secretly with Venezuelan military officers to discuss plans to oust President Nicolas Maduro but eventually decided not to help, The New York Times reported on Saturday. He would report to John Bolton, who came to lead the Security Council in April and is also seen as more hawkish than his predecessor.

The New York Times, citing unnamed U.S. officials and a former Venezuelan commander who took part in the talks, said in a story published Saturday that the coup plans stalled.

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Around the same time, he said publicly that he would not rule out a "military option" to end the chaos there.

White House officials in Washington were at first anxious that the meeting request was a setup in order to record a U.S. official appearing to conspire against Maduro's government, the Times reported.

During a second meeting a year ago, the officers requested encrypted radios for secure communication, the Times reported.

Maduro has also instructed the military to prepare to "shoulder arms", in case of a US invasion.

Aside from confirming what the Venezuelan government has repeatedly warned against, namely the active plotting against the Maduro government by "political opposition" and USA participation, Londoño and Casey also revealed that the US designated a career diplomat to attend the conversations, listen and report on them.

Officials say the White House ultimately declined to back the coup plotters, and the coup never took place.

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