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Sunday, 6 October, 2002, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Venezuela coup attempt 'foiled'
Protester
Chavez is fighting for political survival

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said security officials have foiled a plan to remove him from office through a coup in the next few days.

The Venezuelan leader, who survived a coup by rebel military officers six months ago, said leading political and military opposition members were involved in the new plot.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Chavez says he has evidence of the planned coup
Mr Chavez's remarks come after documents were seized during a raid on the house of a former foreign minister.

After meeting mayors and governors, the president said leading members of the country's two main opposition parties and military officers involved in April's coup attempt were implicated in the plot.

Earlier in the day security officers took away documents Mr Chavez said were evidence of the plan during a raid on the house of former foreign minister Enrique Tejera.

The raid took place after loyal military officers infiltrated meetings by opposition members at the house.

Mr Tejera denies the accusations.

Increasing opposition

Six months after a failed coup which claimed the lives of more than 60 people, Mr Chavez is fighting for his political survival.

He is facing increasing opposition from business leaders, trade unions and much of the country's middle class, who say his policies have driven the oil-rich country into recession.

They have organised a massive public march later this week to demand that he call elections before the end of the year.

Trade unions and the private business sector are also planning a general strike to put further pressure on the president.

Mr Chavez insists he will not call early elections, saying his opponents will have to wait until August next year, when a referendum which could remove him from office can take place.

Venezuela's mounting political tension and threat of further violence led to a visit by the Organisation of American States last week.

However, the delegation left after neither the government nor opposition leaders could agree on an agenda for talks to defuse the crisis.


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14 Aug 02 | Americas
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