Mayor of Venezuelan capital formally accused of coup attempt
The mayor of the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas has formally been accused of attempting a US-funded coup d’état against the South American country’s President Nicolas Maduro.
“The prosecutors’ office on Tuesday formally charged Caracas mayor and opposition member Antonio Ledezma, who was arrested February 19, with allegedly supporting groups plotting to use violent acts to destabilize the country,” the office said in a statement.
Chief Prosecutor of Caracas Luis Orta accused Ledezma, 59, of conspiracy and planning the coup with a number of unnamed individuals, the statement added.
Since his arrest, Ledezma has been imprisoned at the Ramo Verde military prison along with fellow Maduro opponent Leopoldo Lopez. The latter has been charged with provoking anti-government protests that resulted in the death of 43 people between February and May 2014.
Caracas has repeatedly stated that the opposition seeks to launch a coup in Venezuela with the backing of Washington.
Maduro said last December he had “recordings” that reveal the US was seeking to corrupt Venezuelan government officials.
Caracas and Washington have been at odds since late Hugo Chavez became Venezuela’s president in 1999. Both sides have refused to exchange ambassadors since 2010.
Washington has admitted that it endorsed a coup that briefly toppled Chavez in 2002.
On February 12, Maduro said a US-backed coup plot against him had been foiled. Washington denied the claim that it had been involved in any coup plot against Caracas.