According to the Venezuelan leader, the attacks that were being prepared were aimed at targets in the oil industry, power generation, military facilities and at undermining the electoral process.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of preparing terrorist attacks in the Bolivarian Republic with the approval of the American leadership.
“The government of [US President] Donald Trump has been known to use the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States] to organize attacks on Venezuela <…> But the news is that [US authorities] have given the green light to the CIA for their direct agents to carry out an underground terrorist operation”, – Maduro said on Tuesday on state television.
According to the Venezuelan leader, the prepared attacks were directed against targets in the oil industry, electricity, military facilities, as well as to undermine the electoral process. The politician also recalled that earlier the authorities caught one of these representatives of the U.S. intelligence services, who disclosed the plans of the U.S. administration.
Earlier, the Attorney General’s Office of Venezuela brought charges of terrorism, arms smuggling and criminal conspiracy against Matthew John Heath, a U.S. citizen detained in a South American country on suspicion of espionage. According to Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab, the detainee planned acts of sabotage against the oil industry and the national electricity system with the support of accomplices in Venezuela. Photographs of oil refineries and military facilities were found in his phone. Saab said that the American was found to have worked as a mercenary in Iraq at CIA bases from 2006 to 2016.
The situation in Venezuela escalated sharply after opposition leader Juan Guaydo, whose appointment as Speaker of Parliament had been annulled by the Supreme Court two days earlier, declared himself Acting President on 23 January 2019. He was recognised as interim head of state by the USA and joined by the Lima Group countries (except Mexico), the Organisation of American States and a majority of the European Union. President Maduro called it a coup attempt and announced that he had broken off diplomatic relations with the United States. Russia, Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Syria and Turkey spoke in favour of it.