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Venezuela thwarts 'terrorist plan' ahead of regional, municipal elections

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, the Minister of Interior, Justice and Peace of Venezuela, announces the dismantling of a terrorist group in the capital, Caracas, on November 13, 2021. (Photo via social media networks)

The Venezuelan government says it has foiled a new terrorist attack that aimed to disrupt the electoral process and provoke chaos in the Latin American country ahead of the regional and municipal elections next week.

Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, the Minister of Interior, Justice and Peace of Venezuela, announced on Saturday the dismantling of a terrorist group that had planned to target the facilities of the National Electoral Council (CNE) in the capital, Caracas, prior to the regional and municipal vote set on November 21.

“We have dismantled a new terrorist plan that intended to undermine the sovereignty and peace of our people, I will shortly be giving important statements for the whole country,” Ichaso wrote on his Twitter account.

At a press conference later, Ichaso presented videos, audios and evidence about the group that had claimed a series of terrorist attacks during previous elections.

Ichaso said the security forces detained the alleged coordinator of the latest operation, Dimas Alberto González, as well as three other individuals in the vicinity of the CNE early Friday morning.

The four detainees had explosive material and gasoline drums as well as 95 pamphlets related to a self-styled operation called "American Continent 2020."

The Venezuelan minister said it was the same terrorist organization that sought to sabotage the 2020 parliamentary elections and the installation of the National Assembly on January 5, 2021.

Ceballos stressed that “in compliance with the instructions of our President Nicolas Maduro, we guarantee citizen security and peace for the Venezuelan people."

According to Venezuela's elections authority, more than 3,000 positions - including governors, mayors and municipal councilors - are up for grabs in next week’s elections.

Some 21 million voters are eligible to participate.

Back in September, Venezuela’s main opposition parties announced an end to three years of boycotting elections, saying they would participate in the November polls.

They boycotted the 2018 presidential vote, which Maduro won, and the 2020 legislative elections, in which the opposition lost control of Congress. 

The decision to end the boycott came after government and opposition representatives began a fresh round of talks in August, mediated by Norway and hosted by Mexico.

The talks were aimed at resolving the political crisis that plagued the Latin American country after US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” in January 2019.

Washington has imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions against the oil-rich Latin American country in a bid to oust Maduro and replace him with Guaido.

The sanctions, which include illegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets abroad and an economic blockade, have caused enormous suffering for millions of people in the country.

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