A leader of Venezuela's governing Socialist Party, Freddy Bernal accused the United States Monday of being involved in the violent protests that have killed dozens of people in the South American country.
Bernal stated that “what is going on in the country responds to a plan organized systematically by the U.S. State Department and its Southern Command in order to destabilize the country and provoke a coup d'etat.”
In an interview with Prensa Capital, he urged the country's Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz to invoke the Organized Crime and Terrorism Law and press charges against those responsible for the recent violence.
“The National Guard and the intelligence services have arrested a series of individuals caught shooting, burning public goods, backed with video footage, testimonies and other evidence.”
Former Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz also stated during a debate on the constituent assembly that the “U.S. Empire” funded the violent opposition protests “in order to defeat President Nicolas Maduro.”
“We can see how they kill their own supporters in order to blame the government,” he said. “They want elections, and when the calendar (for them) came out they backtracked.”
Protesters faced off with police in Caracas’ main highway Monday, launching rocks and Molotov cocktails. Army vehicles were eventually called in to de-escalate the standoff and prevent further violence.
According to a 2007 U.S. strategic document leaked by former CIA-informer Edward Snowden in 2013, Venezuela was seen as the main adversary of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. The country was listed as one of the top six "enduring targets for the NSA," along with China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Russia.
Espionage efforts aimed at getting information to use against the country "economically, diplomatically" and even "psychologically," were prioritized.