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Crossword plot? Probe ridiculed in Venezuela

Associated Press Modified: May 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm •  Published: May 12, 2012

Chavez, who has been undergoing cancer treatment, is running for re-election in October against state governor Henrique Capriles, and the leftist president has repeatedly warned that his opponents could try to provoke violence or destabilize the country if defeated.

Chavez, who survived a brief coup in 2002, has previously claimed repeatedly during his 13-year presidency that his adversaries aim to overthrow him or even kill him.

On Saturday, the government held an event to launch a book co-written by Perez along with Luis Britto Garcia about a 2004 incident in which authorities arrested more than 100 Colombians at a ranch outside Caracas and accused them of plotting to destabilize the country and assassinate the president. By 2007, all were freed or pardoned by Chavez.

Information Minister Andres Izarra said the book helps lay out "the conspiracies the Bolivarian Revolution has had to face."

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello also raised the possibility of another sort of plot at a news conference several days ago, saying it's feasible that U.S. operatives could attempt to capture leading Chavez supporters and spirit them out of the country.

Opposition politicians have dismissed talk of plots by Chavez adversaries as hogwash. Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges said the latest accusation of a hidden plot in a crossword seems to be an attempt to distract from other issues ahead of the Oct. 7 election.

"This is another smoke screen," he said.