THE Vice-president of Venezuala, Nicolas Maduro, said the government has learned of a plot to assassinate him and National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello.

Mr Maduro said: "For some weeks we have been following groups that have infiltrated in the country and have the goal of trying to kill comrade Diosdado Cabello and me.

"Their macabre and criminal move is to make attempts against our lives and later on try to blame one or the other."

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Mr Maduro referred to the alleged plot after announcing he would travel to Cuba with Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez to see ailing President Hugo Chavez.

He did not provide any evidence or say what sort of attacks the authorities believed had been planned.