President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela accused the United States and Colombia of conspiring to poison him. Announcing on May 30 that the “entire Colombian state is in agreement” to topple him from power in concert with the U.S., which has had a troubled relationship with the oil-rich South American for at least a decade while the now deceased President Hugo Chavez was in power. Maduro had a series of television interviews in which he denounced a “psychological operation” and “economic sabotage” directed against himself and Venezuela.
On the evening of May 30, Maduro said that Colombia has received “a team from Miami, with (former U.S. ambassador) Roger Noriega, only they can say how Maduro knows so much, but I have to say it: it has to do with my life; a team of experts has arrived with poison and they are prepared to come to Venezuela to inject me with the venom.”
Maduro continued along these lines, saying “No, not to make me die in one day, but to made me sick over the course of the coming two months. Do I stand back silently? I must denounce and confront it. They will not be able to do it; be assured that they will not be able to do it, because I am going to live many years and remain president of this country for many years.”
Maduro said that he no longer trusts Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, especially since Santos met Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles on May 29. Capriles was Maduro’s rival in the April 14 election, who contends he was the victim of electoral fraud that benefited the handpicked successor of President Chavez. “Here is our hand to respect us, but the Santa Marta accords have been breached,” said Maduro in reference to a bilateral agreement that the two South American republics would refrain from interference in their respective polities. “We will continue to evaluate all of our relations with the current government of Colombia,” said Maduro.
Maduro’s remarks came just one day after Venezuela’s foreign minister, Elías Jaua, accused the “greatest powers in the Colombian government” are arrayed in an “open conspiracy against peace in Venezuela.” Jaua’s remarks came after a private meeting with Colombia’s President Santos that same day.
According to Maduro, Capriles approved an alleged plan to be carried out by Noriega, the American, in concert with Colombians and Venezuelas to sabotage the availability of foreign exchange, and to also increase the price of widely used consumer goods. Maduro added that a “group of assassins” is slated to infiltrate Venezuela to kill its soldiers.
Maduro says this is a “conspiracy against peace in Venezuela from Bogotá,” that “unfortunately relies on support at the highest levels of some institutions in the Colombian government.”
About the alleged “psychological operation” against Venezuela, Maduro said that it intends to “divide” the “revolutionary forces” in the country by besmirching the reputation of their leaders. Among these would be Diosdado Cabello, the leader of the Venezuelan parliament, who would later be assassinated in the scheme that Maduro imagines.
The Venezuelan president says he has proof that he will reveal only in private. Said Maduro, “I have the probative elements to show to anyone in the world, but in private, because I won’t reveal the valuable sources that Venezuela’s State Revolutionary Intelligence has been able to achieve.”
As for Maduro’s opponent, the voluble Capriles compared the Venezuelan leader’s comments to a “smoke-screen” consisting of “nonsense”, “intemperate statements,” and “barbarities.”