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Venezuela: Maduro critic rejects ‘absurd’ claim he plotted to kill president
Julio Borges, living in exile in Colombia, attacks Maduro as other opposition leaders say apparent assassination bid was legitimate
A prominent Venezuelan opposition leader has repudiated “absurd” claims he was part of an alleged bid to assassinate chairman Nicolas Maduro, as other members of the anti-Maduro resistance movement cheered what they called a legitimate and humiliating strike on a tyrannical regime.
In an interview with CNN en Espanol Julio Borges, the former head of Venezuela’s national assembly, denied any role in what Maduro claims was a foreign-backed plot to behead his leadership with drones carrying plastic explosives.
Borges, who are living in exile in Colombia, claimed Venezuela’s president was employing the” supposed magnicide” try as a smokescreen to conceal the country’s social and economic breakdown.” It’s incredible how Nicolas Maduro makes a victim of himself whilst it is he who is responsible for the exodus of millions of Venezuelans ,” he told CNN.
Borges, who last year accepted a European parliament human rights award on behalf of Venezuela’s opposition, said it was not the first time he had been accused of scheming to assassinate Maduro, who took power after Hugo Chavez’s death in 2013. He said:” A few years ago they accused me … of planning to hijack a Brazilian Tucano[ fighter plane] on the border and was of the view that I myself was going to fly it over Caracas to bombard the Miraflores palace .”
But while Borges distanced himself from the apparent assassination attempt, some members of Venezuela’s exiled resistance movement voiced understanding or approval for what they called a legitimate attempt to bring down an autocratic regime.
Omar Lares, a former opposition mayor who fled to Colombia last year, told the Guardian:” Ultimately those responsible for this attack are those in the totalitarianism because they have closed all the democratic and peaceful solutions to reach agreements. No-one wants to meet with them , no-one believes what they say .”
” So people are looking for a way out- whether it’s members of the military, students, registered political party- all of them are looking for a way out because the situation is grave. The situation in Venezuela gets worse every day .”
Roderick Navarro, a Brazil-based resistance leader who left the country last August, said he supported the action- although claimed it was designed to scare and humiliate Maduro not kill him.
” The main goal of last Saturday wasn’t to kill Maduro, just to threaten him, and make him afraid of the people around him ,” by showing members of his inner circle were collaborating with the resistance, said Navarro, one of the founders of the Rumbo Libertad dissident group.
However, Navarro acknowledged members of the underground military resistance within Venezuela did consider Maduro- who he called ” the head of the most dangerous criminal organization in Latin America”- fair game.
” Power in Venezuela is controlled by offenders. So the[ rebel] military forces and police forces are just doing their chore. They want to restore the principles of the rule of statute, and, yeah, I think they insure Maduro and other leaders as a military objective .”
” What can we, the civil resistance, do ?” Navarro added.” We can simply support them .”