Chavez claims he has evidence of assassination plots

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said his government was redoubling efforts to detect assassination plots. On national television he outlined how the intelligence found evidence that threats against his life were on the increase.

It was during an interview with a former senior member of his government that Hugo Chavez made the comments .

The Venezuelan leader said he believes enemies including the CIA are out to kill him.

“My assassination, without a doubt -  that idea has gained weight. Who was pointed out yesterday there at the White House as Deputy Secretary of State? A professional killer: John Negroponte. They have assigned special units of the CIA, true assassins, who go around not only here in Venezuela, in Central America, in South America,” said Hugo Chavez.

His government had recently accused the newly-appointed Negroponte of playing a key role in the Contras war against the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

The Venezuelan President said this was a sign that key figures were being put in powerful positions where they could target him.

But his attention was not solely devoted to American-based threats.

He also said Venezuelan officials have intelligence that associates of a jailed Cuban anti-communist militant is also involved in plotting to assassinate him.

Chavez said he has ordered “an offensive” to uncover any assassination plots.

He added without elaborating that it was possible “surprises” could soon occur.

U.S. Embassy officials have not yet officially commented, but deny Chavez's repeated accusations they are plotting to oust him.