18:15 GMT +305 December 2019
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    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) speaks during a rally to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the social uprising known as 'Caracazo', which Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez said marked the start of his revolution, in Caracas in this February 28, 2015 picture provided by Miraflores Palace.

    Maduro Claims Venezuela Detained US Citizens for Espionage

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    Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced that several US citizens, including a pilot, were arrested on suspicion of espionage.

    The arrest comes at a time of strained relations between Caracas and Washington. In recent weeks, Maduro has repeatedly accused the United States of plotting to overthrow him.

    "We have captured some US citizens in undercover activities, espionage, trying to win over people in towns along the Venezuelan coast," Maduro said. Venezuelan president did not specify how many people were detained or when the arrest took place.

    The US pilot was arrested in the border state of Tachira. Maduro did not disclose his identity, only saying that he was of Latin origin and carried "all kinds of documentation." Venezuelan authorities are reportedly interrogating him.

    Earlier, Maduro said that several prominent US politicians, including former US President George W. Bush and former US Vice President Dick Cheney, were banned from entering the country, labeling them "terrorists" for US involvement in Syria, Iraq and Vietnam.

    Maduro also announced Venezuela would start limiting the number of diplomatic staff the US can have in the country.


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    pilot, arrest, Dick Cheney, Nicolas Maduro, George W. Bush, United States, Venezuela
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