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Chavez Accuses CIA Of Backing Plot To Kill Him

06/ 2/09 10:37 PM ET   AP

Hugo Chavez

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday alleged that U.S. intelligence agencies were behind a purported assassination plot that prevented him from visiting El Salvador.

Chavez had planned to attend the inauguration of leftist President Mauricio Funes in the Central American nation on Monday, but canceled his trip due to the alleged plot.

"I don't doubt that the intelligence organizations of the United States are behind this," Chavez said, accusing them of plotting with Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles to murder him.

He said Venezuelan intelligence services have "very precise information" that they were planning to launch rockets at the Cubana de Aviacion plane he was going to travel in.

Venezuela has asked the U.S. to extradite Posada, an opponent of former Cuban president Fidel Castro and a former CIA operative accused of plotting the 1976 bombing of a Cuban plane in Venezuela that killed 73 people on board. The 81-year-old Posada denies involvement in the bombing.

Chavez has repeatedly accused the U.S. of plotting to overthrow him or to invade Venezuela, without offering proof. The U.S. State Department has denied such accusations in the past.

Nobody at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas was immediately available to comment Tuesday.

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Filed by Nicholas Sabloff  |