President Nicolas Maduro gave a live television address on Friday, September 11, in which he claimed that a US national had been arrested on suspicion of espionage activities in the country. Maduro stated that the individual was detained on Thursday, September 10, near the twin Amuay and Cardon refineries in Falcon State after being found in possession of weapons and a significant amount of cash. However, the statement did not provide further details regarding the circumstances of the arrest or the specific allegations against the individual.
Maduro also used the address to announce that authorities had disrupted a plot to sabotage the El Palito refinery in Carabobo State after allegedly uncovering plans to cause an explosion at the site. However, it was not immediately clear whether the plot was linked to the individual arrested in Falcon.
An increased security presence is likely at oil facilities throughout the country in the near term.
Thursday's alleged arrest comes a month after two US nationals were sentenced to 20 years in prison for their involvement in a failed May 2020 plot to overthrow the Venezuelan government. Maduro has repeatedly stated that the arrests are evidence of international efforts, led by the US, to instigate regime change in the country. However, critics have accused the government of inventing and exaggerating foreign threats in an attempt to distract from Venezuela's own crippling economic crisis.
Those in Venezuela are advised to monitor developments and heed any directives issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Copyright and Disclaimer