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Maduro urges stop alleged plot to kill opposition leader


14:13, March 18, 2013

CARACAS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan acting President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday urged U.S. President Barack Obama to halt an alleged plot to assassinate opposition leader Henrique Capriles and to stop destabilizing his country ahead of the April 14 presidential election.

Speaking in an interview with private channel Televen, he accused former diplomats Roger Noriega and Otto Reich, as well as the Pentagon and the CIA, of being behind a plot to assassinate Capriles, his presidential rival.

Maduro said he had reliable information to show that the U.S.-planned plot aimed to "blame the government" for the attack and "create chaos in Venezuela."

Washington denied the charge. "We categorically reject allegations of the U.S. government involvement in any plot to harm anyone in Venezuela," a State Department spokesman said.

The Venezuelan government often accused Noriega, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, and Reich, former U.S. ambassador in Caracas, of seeking to destabilize the country.

Maduro, 50, became acting president after President Hugo Chavez died on March 5 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Maduro, who also accused opposition groups of being involved, said his government will provide protection for all presidential candidates, especially Capriles.

However, Capriles said on Twitter that Maduro should be held accountable for any possible action against him.

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