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Venezuela closes borders ahead of presidential election

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Venezuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro waving to crowds on April 9, 2013.

Venezuela has stepped up security and closed its borders ahead of Sunday’s presidential elections after acting President Nicolas Maduro said a murder plot against him had been foiled.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said “strict control” of movements is in affect along land border with Colombia and Brazil, and that the restriction would last until Monday night, one day after the election has been held.

The measures were imposed after intelligence services found “elements that generate violence who hope to use our territory’s border to create a climate of destabilization,” said Reverol.

This comes as Maduro revealed last week that Salvadoran hitmen had entered Venezuela as part of an assassination plot against him backed by two former US officials and El Salvador’s right-wing group.

After the announcement, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes ordered an inquiry into whether right-wing lawmaker Roberto D’Aubuisson had partaken in the failed assassination plot.

In addition, Reverol reported that on the Election Day some 125,000 security forces would operate under a “special security and patrol plan” at more than 13,600 polling stations.

Maduro said on April 5 that authorities had caught 17 people, including the employees of the state-run National Electricity Corporation, while in the process of sabotaging the power system to create blackouts.

He continued by saying that the opposition has planned to shut down the national power in order to disrupt the election.

Maduro and Capriles began their presidential election campaigns on April 2 to replace deceased Hugo Chavez.

Maduro, 50, became Venezuela’s acting president on March 8, following the death of socialist leader Chavez, who passed away three days earlier after battling with cancer for two years.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles lost the presidential election to Chavez in October 2012.


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