'Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has named his former intelligence chief a mastermind behind the recent botched coup attempt, claiming Caracas has proof that he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency over a year ago.
During a televised speech on Friday, Maduro unleashed an attack on General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, former director general of Venezuela's National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), who defected from Maduro's side in the wake of the failed military coup on April, 30. The coup attempt fizzled out within hours as it failed to attract broad support from the military, having been orchestrated by a small group of soldiers.
Maduro said that investigators were able to determine that Figuera was the driving force behind the attempt, and was apparently doing it at the behest of Washington.
"Investigations have succeeded in proving that General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera has been recruited by the CIA for more than a year," Maduro said, adding that justice would be served on the "traitor" Figuera "sooner rather than later."
After the coup flopped, opposition leader Juan Guadio, recognized as 'interim president' of Venezuela by the US and some 50 other countries, lamented that the opposition did not have enough manpower and supporters within government circles.
While the opposition seemed to have been poorly prepared for a decisive push to topple Maduro, it might be explained by the fact that Figuera was apparently in a hurry to rush the coup before his imminent arrest.
Maduro revealed that he was given head-ups by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, Supreme Court chief Maikel Moreno and chief of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, Iván Hernández Dala, about Figuera's "strange behavior" in run-up to the coup attempt.'
Read more: Venezuela's Maduro says turncoat general 'recruited by CIA' was mastermind of failed coup
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