RNA - “We have revealed, dismantled and captured a fascist band of terrorists that planned a coup against Venezuelan society and Venezuelan democracy,” Maduro said in a Wednesday evening broadcast.
“They are captured, behind bars, with clear evidence after following this group of criminals and fascists.”
The plan allegedly involved an attack on the headquarters of the Sebin intelligence agency to release General Raul Baduel, a former defense minister arrested on corruption accusations in 2009 after falling out with the Socialist Party.
Maduro said the plan involved opposition leader Juan Guaido as well as political leaders from Chile, Colombia and the United States, but Guaido dismissed the accusations as lies.
Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved both active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.
"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'état. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.
At least six of the alleged plotters had been detained, the minister said in a televised speech in Caracas, presenting testimony from one of them, named as Lieutenant Carlos Saavedra.
Four of the officers were arrested last Friday, a move denounced by Guaido in a statement on Tuesday, though no details of the circumstances, or the reasons for their arrests, emerged.
Guaido, who as the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly invoked the constitution in January to assume a rival interim presidency, has repeatedly called on members of the armed forces to join his cause.
Maduro views Guaido as a “puppet” of the United States, accusing him of fomenting violence to oust him in a failed coup which he managed to launch nearly two months ago.
Rights group claim some 700 people, including about 100 members of the military, are detained in Venezuela for political reasons. The government denies it has put anyone behind bars for such causes.