The U.S. government isn't promoting unrest in Venezuela, nor attempting to undermine Venezuela’s government, the U.S. State Department said Thursday. The announcement comes after Venezuela on Thursday arrested opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas, after top government officials accused the mayor just days earlier of being involved in a plot to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s government. The Venezuelan government said the move was needed to stop a plot backed by a U.S. coup.
“The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false. The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means,” U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Thursday.
Venezuelan government officials had accused Ledezma, a well-known opposition leader that staged a hunger strike in 2009 to protest the political tactics of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, of being involved in an alleged plot to assassinate President Maduro and overthrow his regime. However, opposition members have cast doubt on claims of an alleged U.S. coup.
"We regret that the Venezuelan government continues to blame the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela," the U.S. State Department said. "The Venezuelan government needs to deal with the grave situation it faces."