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Venezuela lays out accusations against Guaido’s top aide

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2019 file photo, Venezuela's Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez presents the country brand strategy to promote tourism in all its regions, in the Hotel Alba Caracas, in Caracas, Venezuela. Rodriguez went on state television Saturday, March 23, 2019, alleging that jailed top aide to opposition leader Juan Guaido, Roberto Marrero, was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s government is laying out accusations against a jailed top aide to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez went on state television Saturday alleging that Roberto Marrero was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations.

He showed screen grabs of cell phone conversations that he said are proof Marrero was orchestrating the hitmen’s payment.

Marrero was taken from his home in the middle of the night by masked agents Thursday in a dramatic operation that has drawn international condemnation.

President Nicolas Maduro has refrained from having Guaido arrested, but analysts say Marrero’s detention was a clear attempt to weaken his political foe.

Guaido characterized the operation as a sign that Maduro is losing his grip on power.

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