Venezuela is offering a $500,000 reward for reliable information on three “Colombian agents” said to be involved in “terrorist conspiratorial plans” to attack the country’s democracy, according to President Nicolas Maduro’s broadcast on Venezolana de Televisión on Tuesday.
The three individuals - described as “officials of the Intelligence Directorate of the Government of Colombia” - are believed to have links to alleged efforts to disrupt the installation of Venezuela's new National Assembly (AN).
The purported plans, dubbed “Operation Boycott the AN”, were said to be supported by Spanish elites from Madrid and financed by the government of Colombian President Iván Duque. And, according to Maduro, at the forefront of their execution is said to be Venezuela's opposition leader Leopoldo López, who is currently living in Spain.
"From Madrid, Spain, Leopoldo López is protected in his plans to plant bombs, kill, assassinate and fill Venezuela with violence,” Maduro said during the TV broadcast.
Desarticulamos un plan terrorista para atentar contra la instalación de la nueva AN el próximo #5Ene, orquestado por el prófugo de la justicia venezolana, Leopoldo López. Instruí al canciller Jorge Arreaza, para que se comunique con la embajada de España. ¡Máxima Alerta! pic.twitter.com/NuPzJ13PU9— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) December 30, 2020
According to Carmen Meléndez, Minister of People’s Power for Internal Relations, Justice and Peace, the “terrorist actions” were set to be unveiled from 27 December onwards, as the country prepares to swear in a new National Assembly for 2021 to 2026 after parliamentary elections on 6 December.
The minister argued that malign efforts wanted to target military and police units, as well as governors.
"No leader must lower his or her guard, we are facing some murderous terrorists, full of hatred and revenge and they are desperate,” Maduro said during conversations with governors in preparation for a new legislature’s launch which is set to begin work on 5 January.
The Venezuela’s president announced that he had instructed Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza to contact his Spanish counterpart in a bid to enlighten him on this “unconstitutional plan”.
This comes just days after Maduro openly accused Colombia of planning “new attacks” against the country’s military with “trained mercenaries”, something he said had Duque's clear support. In December, the president argued that he had learnt about the plot to assassinate him during the parliamentary elections, something that prompted the country’s president to switch polling stations.