Caracas: Venezuela`s ruling party accused opposition members and the US ambassador to Colombia on Wednesday of plotting a coup and the assassination of President Nicolas Maduro.
Surrounded by socialist party leaders, Jorge Rodriguez, the mayor of Caracas municipality of Libertador, said US ambassador Kevin Whitaker acted as a coordinator "in a coup in collusion with Venezuelan politicians and civilians."
Rodriguez showed reporters emails written by former opposition lawmaker Maria Corina Machado and other government critics in which they allegedly discuss how to heat up a political crisis to oust Maduro.
Rodriguez read an email in which Machado allegedly told former presidential candidate Diego Arria of the need to "step up efforts" and obtain financial help to "annihilate Maduro."
The mayor said the three-month-old anti-government protests that have rocked Venezuela are "a phase" in an elaborate plot by the far-right, which he said planned street barricades, a military coup and the assassination of Maduro.
Machado, who was ousted from the legislature by Maduro`s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in March, rejected the charges as "defamation."
The Venezuelan government often charges that there are plots against the president, but far less often offers details about its allegations.