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Iran Press TV

US denies plotting to overthrow Venezuelan government

Iran Press TV

Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:19PM

The United States says it is not plotting to overthrow the Venezuelan government, following accusations that Washington is seeking regime change in the Latin American nation.

On Thursday, Venezuelan authorities arrested Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma in a move the government said was necessary to thwart a US-backed power grab.

In a televised address, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said, 'It is the government of the United States that is behind the plans of destabilization and coups against Venezuela. ... We have dismantled a coup attempt against democracy, against the stability of our homeland.'

In Washington, the State Department said late on Thursday, 'The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false."

"The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Venezuela was the scene of violent anti-government demonstrations last year. Caracas had said the violent protests were part of a US plot to bring about regime change in the oil-rich nation.

Caracas and Washington remain at odds since late Hugo Chavez became president in 1999. Both sides have refused to exchange ambassadors since 2010. The countries have chargé d'affaires running their respective embassies.

Maduro became Venezuela's acting president in March 2013, following the death of Chavez, who lost a two-year-long battle with cancer. In April 2013, Maduro was elected president of Venezuela. He has promised to continue the socialist policies of the former Venezuelan leader.

In 2002, a group of opposition politicians and troops backed by the United States staged a coup against Chavez. He was arrested and sent to a military base on a Caribbean island.

However, just two days later, the efforts of loyal military officers and massive demonstrations by Venezuelans swept him back to power.

Chavez founded the Bolivarian Revolution to establish popular democracy and economic independence and equitably distribute wealth in Latin America. He was one of the key players in the progressive movement that has swept across Latin America over the past few years.


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