CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan officials say they have foiled a plot to overthrow the government that included assassinating President Nicolas Maduro and his closest political allies.
Maduro spokesman Jorge Rodriguez said on state television Wednesday that a network of mostly retired police officers and soldiers planned to bomb a key government building and seize a Caracas air base.
He also says the plotters wanted to edge opposition leader Juan Guaidó from Venezuela's political landscape.
The government has claimed various plots over the years, generally offering little or no evidence to back its charges. The opposition contends Maduro uses such claims to justify his crackdown on dissent.
Rodriguez says the purported network wanted to steal a helicopter to liberate a former defense minister now in jail and install him as president.
He also charges that leaders in Colombia and Chile backed the thwarted coup, but he didn't provide evidence.
Rodriguez showed what he says are intercepted video conference calls with the alleged plotters hashing out strategy for the attack planned for June 23.
Rodriguez says the leader of Venezuela's governing socialist party, Diosdado Cabello, was among those targeted for assassination.
Guaidó dismisses the claim as yet another attempt by the government to distract from Venezuela's real problems.