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VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro has published an open letter to the world calling on governments to focus on protecting the lives of their citizens during the Covid-19 crisis instead of threatening peace and stability.
He denounced increased aggression by the United States, which last week mobilised its largest naval operation in the region since the 1989 invasion of Panama ousted General Manuel Noriega from power and brought him to the US on drug-trafficking charges.
The deployment came after Washington had branded Venezuela a “narco-terrorist state” and placed a $15 million (£12m) bounty on Mr Maduro’s head, claiming that he heads a violent drug cartel intent on flooding the US with cocaine.
The Bolivarian leader said he had written the open letter to set the record straight and deal with the facts behind the “perverse plot” by the US Department of Justice.
He explained that just one day before the US declaration, the Venezuelan government had discovered details of an operation emanating from Colombia that included an attempt to assassinate him, his family and high-ranking state officials.
Behind the plot was former Venezuelan army general Cliver Alcala, who admitted to the Colombian authorities that he had signed off the purchase of a cache of weapons that was intended to equip militia inside Venezuela to launch an insurrection against the government.
Mr Alcala said he had been working on the orders of Venezuelan opposition politician and self-proclaimed “acting president” Juan Guiado.
Mr Maduro accused Mr Alcala of being a US state asset, which he said was clear from footage of the general filmed after he had surrendered to Colombian intelligence officers. He is seen without handcuffs as he shakes hands with his captors before being taken on a VIP flight to the US.
The Venezuelan president described the flight as a rescue mission of “a mercenary hired by the United States to carry out a terrorist operation against the Venezuelan government.”
He said his government was alerting the world to the “reckless and criminal” steps being taken by the Trump administration, which is deepening its policy of aggression against sovereign states in the region.
“During the pandemic, the US government, instead of focusing on policies of global co-operation in health and prevention, has increased unilateral coercive measures [and] rejected requests from the international community to lift or make flexible the illegal sanctions that prevent Venezuela from accessing medicines, medical equipment and food,” Mr Maduro said.
“The political and economic models that advocate selfishness and individualism have demonstrated their total failure to face this situation.”
But he insisted that Venezuela would prevail in the face of imperialist aggression and would work together with others to build a future of hope and dignity.
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