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In Venezuela, opponents accuse President Nicolas Maduro's government of escalating accusations about their role in foiled coups and plots against the government. Maduro's administration has denounced more than a dozen purported plots since coming to power 15 months ago, according to The Associated Press.

While the Chavez government tended to point fingers at the CIA or shadowy outside groups, Maduro's accusations have targeted local opposition figures, who say they face imprisonment, surveillance and the threat of vilification or violence from pro-government groups.

Top officials have accused a handful of opposition leaders of working with the U.S. ambassador in neighboring Colombia to "annihilate" Maduro. Opponents say this is being done to shift attention away from domestic problems such as soaring prices and rising crime. Some have hired investigators to dissolve the accusations.


— The Associated Press