Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said security forces foiled an attempted coup d'etat that included plans to assassinate him and other senior political figures and to appoint a former army officer jailed as president.
"We uncovered, dismantled and arrested a group of fascist terrorists who planned a coup against Venezuelan society and democracy," Maduro said in a televised interview on Wednesday evening.
"After tracking this group of terrorists and fascists, they were arrested and put behind bars with clear evidence."
The plan, according to Maduro, included an attack on the headquarters of the intelligence service (Spin)
For the release of General Raul Baduel, a former defense minister who was arrested on corruption charges in 2009 after ending his relationship with the Socialist Party, with the aim of appointing him as president.
Maduro accused opposition leader Juan Guido of involvement in the coup plot, as well as political leaders from Chile, Colombia and the United States. Guido denied the charges and described them as lies.
Maduro said that among the collaborators with the coup were Israelis, and that they were planning, along with his assassination, to destroy the telephone infrastructure and the Internet.
For its part, the government announced that the attempt was to be implemented during the Sunday and Monday.
The country has been under growing tension since Jan. 23, after the speaker of the parliament, Guido, claimed that he would hold the presidency temporarily until new elections were held.
President Donald Trump quickly recognized Guaydou as a transitional president, followed by Canada and Latin American and European countries.
In contrast, countries including Russia, Turkey, Mexico and Bolivia supported Maduro's legitimacy, which on January 10 was sworn in as president for a new six-year term.