Buenos Aires - Embattled Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro claimed on Wednesday that his government has foiled a planned attack on him and other key officials.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez on Wednesday said former soldiers and police had plotted to kill Maduro, his wife Cilia Flores and the president of the pro-governmental constituent assembly, Diosdado Cabello.
Rodriguez said the plotters had planned to release jailed ex-General Raul Isaias Baduel from prison and declare him president, the El Universal newspaper reported.
Rodriguez identified the governments of Colombia and Chile as the masterminds behind the alleged coup attempt.
Maduro himself spoke of "a power-obsessed minority planning violence and war."
Maduro has been in a months-long stand-off with self-declared interim president Juan Guaido and has repeatedly spoken of alleged plans for attacks or the overthrow of his government, mostly without providing any concrete proof.
Maduro escaped an actual attempt on his life last year, when drones carrying explosives went off in front of him as he spoke at a National Guard ceremony in Caracas. The president was unharmed, but seven National Guard soldiers were injured.
Earlier on Wednesday, Guaido accused Maduro's government of trying to kidnap a part of his team.
A group of armed people on motorcycles and wearing civilian clothes stopped team members who were on their way to meetings, Guaido said at a press conference.
They threatened to arrest the team members and take them to the military secret service headquarters, he added.
The members were then released after Guaido intervened, according to a video posted on the interim presidency's Twitter account.
"Violence and persecution are the only answer that the regime has," the opposition leader said.
Guaido has been trying to oust Maduro since January, when he declared himself interim president. Maduro accuses the opposition leader, who has the backing of dozens of countries, of plotting a coup with US support.
Several of Guaido's collaborators have been arrested, but the opposition leader has remained free so far.dpa