Venezuela’s Maduro may skip UN meeting over security fears

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro demonstrates his Salt Bae sprinkling technique during a press conference at the Miraflores Presidential Palace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Maduro demonstrated the technique after speaking about the invitation to the famed Nusr-Et steakhouse in Istanbul when he stopped over briefly in Turkey on the way home from a trip to China to raise badly needed investment. Videos of Maduro feasting on a steak is drawing fury from opponents of the embattled socialist leader. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday he may have to suspend a planned trip to the United Nations next week because of concerns his opponents would try to kill him if he travels abroad.

Maduro said he had hoped to attend to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, which he hasn’t since 2015, to combat what he called a hate campaign directed against his socialist government from the U.S.

But he said opponents backed by the U.S. continue to look for ways to remove him and that security concerns would be paramount in his decision.

“I’m still evaluating whether to go to the U.N. General Assembly because you know they’re looking to kill me,” Maduro said.

While Maduro didn’t provide evidence of any assassination plots afoot he pointed to last month’s attack by two explosives-laden drones as he was delivering a speech to troops as evidence that plots against his life are ongoing.

“It’s a permanent conspiracy,” he said.

As Venezuela’s economy has fallen deeper into crisis, calls for Maduro’s removal from opposition groups, one-time aides and foreign leaders have grown louder. Last week, the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, in a visit to Colombia joined U.S. President Donald Trump in warning that a military intervention to remove Maduro shouldn’t be ruled out.

But Maduro insisted that his military was unwaveringly loyal and helped detect two coup plots, one of them set to coincide with presidential elections last May. But he named and showed pictures of three retired officers authorities are seeking to arrest for allegedly conspiring from bases in Colombia, Miami and the Dominican Republic.

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