Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro warned Wednesday that he would be "ruthless" to the opposition if they tried a coup d'état after his government declared it had thwarted an attack on him.
"We would be ruthless in a revolutionary counter-offensive against an attempted fascist coup – unscrupulous!" An agitated Maduro said in a national radio and television address.
Maduro's spokesman Jorge Rodriguez previously said on state television that a network of mostly retired police officers and soldiers plan to bomb an important government building, confiscate a Caracas airport and plunder the Venezuelan central bank.
He also said the conspirators wanted to oust the opposition leader Juan Guaido from Venezuela's political landscape.
Guaido, leader of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, is trying to withdraw Maduro with support from more than 50 nations. In January, he called on the constitution to declare himself as interim president and declared Maduro's re-election 201
Rodriguez said the alleged network wants to steal a helicopter to rescue Raul Baduel, a former Defense Secretary who is now in jail, and to install him as president.
Over the years, the government has pleaded various conspiracies and, in general, provided little or no evidence for its allegations. The opposition claims that Maduro uses such allegations to justify his suppression of dissent.
Guaido dismissed the recent allegation as another attempt by the government to divert attention from the real problems of Venezuela.
Maduro was attacked last August by two explosive-laden drones that exploded near the president while talking at a military celebration outdoors. He was not injured in the attack, which the officials described as an assassination attempt.
Rodriguez accused Colombian President Ivan Duque and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera of supporting the allegedly foiled coup d'état, but he did not provide any evidence.
Rodriguez showed what He said were scenes from 56 hours of intercepted video conferencing with suspected conspirators outlining a strategy for the June 23 attack.
The spokesman said First Lady Cilia Flores and Diosdado Cabello, chairman of Venezuela's ruling socialist party, were among those who were also to be murdered.