BOGOTA, Colombia â€”The exiled opposition leader accused by Venezuelan authorities of directing a failed plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro says the greatest threat to the embattled socialist leader may be his detractors in uniform standing quietly behind him.
Julio Borges, who once led Venezuelaâ€™s opposition-controlled National Assembly, said Tuesday that the arrests of two high-ranking military officers in connection with the attack using drones loaded with plastic explosives is yet another signal that fractures within the nationâ€™s armed forces are growing.
â€śThe conflict today is within the government â€“ not just at the political level, but more importantly within the armed forces,â€ť Borges said in an interview with The Associated Press in Colombiaâ€™s capital.
His comments came hours after Venezuelaâ€™s chief prosecutor announced the arrest of Gen. Alejandro Perez and Col. Pedro Zambrano from Venezuelaâ€™s National Guard as part of the investigation into the Aug. 4 attack. Their alleged roles were not described.
Authorities said they have arrested 14 people so far while Borges and other alleged conspirators are being sought. Maduro has accused Borges of plotting with others to train anti-government saboteurs in Colombia and transport the drones and explosives used in the attack across the border into Venezuela.
Borges, who fled to Colombia with his family following the breakdown of negotiations with the government this year, said he had no prior knowledge of the plot.
a drab building in Bogota.
Almost from the moment the attack took place, Venezuelaâ€™s opposition has warned that Maduro would use the incident to intensify a crackdown on his opponents as the government seeks to tamp down discontent over the countryâ€™s imploding economy. In the past week, the number of suspects and detainees has nearly doubled.
Among those in custody is another opposition lawmaker, Juan Requesens, who was charged with treason and attempted homicide.