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Venezuela says it captured ‘US spy’ targeting two oil refineries with ‘heavy, specialized’ weapons

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela has announced the capture of “an American spy” with heavy weapons and money near two refineries in the state of Falcon. The man is said to be a Marine who worked for the CIA in Iraq.

The spy was trying to collect information on the refineries in Amuay and Cardon, Maduro said in a televised address on Friday. The two facilities are located on the Paraguana Peninsula, along the Venezuelan coast just south of Aruba. 

According to the president, the detained American is a member of the US Marine Corps who worked with the CIA in Iraq, and was captured with “heavy, specialized weapons and a large amount of cash.”

Maduro added that he ordered heightened security at all Venezuelan refineries after the spy was captured. Earlier, he said, the country’s Petroleum Ministry discovered and thwarted a plan “to cause an explosion” at the El Palito refinery in Carabobo, west of Caracas.

It is a war of revenge by the gringo empire to prevent Venezuela from producing all petroleum derivatives and gasoline

Maduro accused the US of waging an economic war against Venezuela, trying to destroy the country’s oil industry. “They have reached a level of madness,” he said.

Washington has accused Maduro of being a “dictator” and recognized opposition politician Juan Guaido as “interim president” back in January 2019. Despite the support of the US and most Latin American states, however, Guaido has failed in repeated attempts to take power in Caracas.

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The US oil embargo has hit Venezuela hard, reducing its exports to the lowest levels since 1943 and only rising slightly in August due to special purchases from India. The US has confiscated any property of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and redirected it to the coffers of Guaido and his supporters.

The Bank of England likewise blocked Caracas from accessing some $1 billion in gold stored in its vaults, with British judges ruling it rightly belonged to the US-backed politician instead.

Two former members of the US military have already been detained in Venezuela earlier this year. Employees of the Florida-based mercenary outfit Silvercorp, former US Army special forces operators (‘Green Berets’), were captured in May, after trying to cross from Colombia. They admitted they were trying to abduct Maduro and install Guaido as president. One of them, Luke Denman, later told Venezuelan TV that Guaido had “greatly misled” them about the situation in Venezuela.

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The US government denied any knowledge or involvement in the operation. So did Guaido, insisting he had “no link, commitment or responsibility to Silvercorp or its actions.” Earlier in May, however, the Washington Post had published a 41-page contract between Guaido and Silvercorp referring to him as “commander in chief.” 

Denman told the Venezuelan authorities the company’s executives had met with Guaido while he was visiting the White House. He and the other Green Beret, Airan Berry, were sentenced last month to 20 years in prison over the plot.

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