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Venezuela’s Maduro says he would accept FBI help over alleged murder plot

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By Alex VASQUEZ

President Nicolas Maduro has said that he would let US FBI agents come to Venezuela to help investigate the alleged recent plot to kill him with explosive drones — but with conditions.

If US officials confirm “the offer for the FBI to investigate links in Florida with the assassination plan … I would agree for the FBI to come here,” Maduro said at a late Saturday event with top military leaders.

According to Maduro, there are “terrorist cells” in the US state of Florida – home to a large community of Venezuelan immigrants – led by a man called Osman Delgado Tabosky, whom he claims was the mastermind of the alleged plot.

Maduro’s words follow a Wednesday statement by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza who said that the US charge d’affairs in Caracas, James Story, “expressed his concern” over the alleged August 4 murder plot, as well as “the willingness of his government to cooperate”.

Two drones packed with explosives flew toward Maduro as he was attending a military parade in Caracas, officials have said. When a detonation occurred, soldiers were seen running away in panic.

Authorities say they have detained 10 suspects whom they accuse of involvement with support from neighboring Colombia and people living in the United States.

The Venezuelan leader has repeatedly accused Washington of conspiring to oust him, and Caracas and Washington have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010.

On Saturday Maduro again blamed former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos of involvement in the alleged murder plot.

One suspect detained by Venezuelan agents is opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens. Maduro’s government said Requesens has admitted to having communicated with a second arrested suspect who allegedly confessed to participating in the attack.

(Agence France-Presse)