US slams 'outlandish allegations' from Venezuela

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Associated Press

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 21 at 1:05 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The U.S. State Department says Venezuelan official claims of U.S.-based plots are "unsubstantiated and outlandish allegations."

Thursday's statement describes the allegations as "disappointing" and it rejects charges of "U.S. government involvement in any plots to destabilize the Venezuelan government or to harm anyone in Venezuela."

Venezuelan officials have stepped up anti-U.S. rhetoric ahead of an April 14 election to replace the late President Hugo Chavez.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Wednesday his government is suspending lines of communication set up by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson. Jaua accused Jacobson of helping opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

Acting Presidentr Nicolas Maduro has said former U.S. officials were plotting to assassinate Capriles to foment a coup. He also has accused the U.S. of infecting Chavez with cancer.

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