Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claims that US President Donald Trump’s administration gave its approval to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to carry out recent “covert and terrorist operations” against an array of targets in the country.
“They have given the CIA the green light to come with direct agents to covert and terrorist operations against oil, electricity, military, electoral targets and other dirty covert actions like those used by the CIA,” he told state television in Spanish on Tuesday, speaking of the Trump administration.
This comes amid a series of developments that followed the capture of an alleged US spy near Venezuela’s largest oil refinery earlier this month.
Following an investigation into the matter, the Venezuelan president claimed that the spy, who was arrested alongside three others in Falcón State, served as a communications operator at a CIA base in Iraq between 2006 and 2016.
Maduro Takes Aim at US DEA
Maduro also reiterated accusations against the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which he claims has been used by the White House to attack Venezeula and overthrow Caracas.
“It has placed the DEA as the operator agency of the attack against Venezuela, what is new today is not that the DEA is involved with the Colombian drug trafficking group to attack Venezuela, the new thing is that they have approved that the CIA get involved in operations terrorist attacks against Venezuela,” he stated on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, a group of 13 individuals were captured by Venezuelan security forces. Two of the 13 detainees were later identified as US citizens Luke Denman and Airan Barry.
A testimony published soon after showed a detainee claiming the group was made up of “intermediaries of the security chief of the #USA president, they say they are from the security advisory of Donald Trump,” according to a translated tweet.
Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol claimed that one of the men was a DEA agent. However, the DEA has denied these allegations.
Colombia Preparing Attack on Venezuela After US Imposes New Sanctions
Maduro also warned on Tuesday that Colombian President Iván Duque has been recruiting drug smugglers ahead of a planned attack on Venezuela.
“Iván Duque is directly articulating the drug trafficking gangs and has placed the drug trafficking gangs of La Guajira and other places to prepare his group of hit men and terrorists to come and attack Venezuela in the coming weeks,” he claimed.
Maduro’s announcement of this anticipated attack comes a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions against the Venezuelan president, as well as against the the Iranian Defense Ministry and other Iranian officials.
“For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran had worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo,” Pompeo said on Monday.
The Venezuelan president and 14 present and past government officials were previously indicted by the US Department of Justice on narcoterrorism charges.
The Trump administration has also offered a $15 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Maduro. Allies of the president, like Supreme Tribunal of Justice President Maikel Moreno, also had multi-million-dollar bounties placed on them by the US government.