CIA plotting to kill Venezuelan opposition leader, Maduro says

Venezuela’s acting president says the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have formulated a plot to murder opposition leader Henrique Capriles in order to destabilize the Latin American country ahead of the April 14 presidential election.

Speaking in an interview with the private television network Televen on Sunday, Nicolas Maduro said former Bush administration officials Roger Noriega and Otto Reich, as well as the Pentagon and the CIA, are behind the plot, Reuters reported.

Maduro stated that the plan was to blame the murder on the Venezuelan government and to “fill Venezuelans with hate.”

He went on to say that the aim of the scheme was to set off a coup in Venezuela, adding that his information came from “a very good source.”

However, on Monday the United States denied that it had devised a plot to assassinate Capriles.

“We categorically reject allegations of US government involvement in any plot to harm anyone in Venezuela,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Maduro, 50, became Venezuela’s acting president on March 8, following the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez, who lost a two-year battle with cancer on March 5.