Colombian paramilitary organization AUC participated in a 2004 attempt to overthrow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a demobilized member of the group told Colombian prosecutors Wednesday.
A former member of the AUC’s Catatumbo Block told Colombian officials that the paramilitaries were involved in planning the failed coup.
According to the demobilized paramilitary, a former Colombian army official identified as Misael Valero, planned to take some 50 Colombian paramilitary fighters to Caracas to take part in a coup together with dissident Venezuelan officials, “but they were discovered and arrested” just outside the Venezuelan capital.
Valero is currently being held in a maximum security jail in northern Colombia.
The leftist Chavez has frequently accused Colombian right-wing paramilitaries of carrying out operations on Venezuelan territory.
The Venezuelan president survived another attempted coup in 2002 when members of the armed forces, with the support of business leaders and media, removed him from office, but were forced to return Chavez after massive protests by supporters.