On Thursday afternoon Ledezma tweeted that police were about to arrest him at his offices in the EXA tower in El Rosal, an upscale neigborhood of Caracas. "My office is being raided in this moment by various police from the regime," he wrote.
Soon after, news broke that he had been detained by security forces.Footage subsequently emerged purporting to show the raid. Both plain clothed security officials and heavily armed, uniformed police are seen entering the offices and then leaving with Ledezma in custody.Maduro made a nationally televised appearance to announce the arrest."He was arrested on order of the prosecutor and will be processed so that he responds for all of the crimes against the country's peace, security and constitution," said Maduro. "Whoever is behind the coup has to go to prison, whoever it may be."Maduro claimed that security forces had acted to prevent a coup attempt that was being financed and directed "from Washington."The Venezuelan government under both Maduro and Chávez — who was the target of a failed 47-hour coup in 2002 — has long accused opponents of conspiring with the United States and frequently blames its economic, infrastructural, and security problems on "enemies" attempting to destabilize the country. In less than two years in office, Maduro has alleged no less than seven plots to overthrow him.
Mi oficina pretende ser allanada en este momento por varios policias del régimen, torre Exa, el Rosal.
— Antonio Ledezma (@alcaldeledezma)February 19, 2015
On February 2, Maduro accused Vice President Joe Biden of discussing a coup with regional leaders."The northern imperial power has entered a dangerous phase of desperation," he said in a televised address, "going to talk to the continent's governments to announce the overthrow of my government and I accuse Vice President Joe Biden of this."On February 12, an ex-air force general and several other people were arrested for allegedly planning a coup. The government said 11 soldiers, two opposition politicians and a businessman had been implicated in the plot.On Thursday, the United States swiftly denied its involvement in any coup attempt, and noted that despite the ongoing war of words between Washington and Caracas, the pair maintained close trading relations. The United States is the largest buyer of oil from Venezuela, which sits on the biggest hydrocarbon reserves in the world and whose economy and revolutionary project rests entirely on the industry.
Leopoldo López and the political prisoners in Venezuela should be released without delay.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton)February 20, 2015
The arrest came after several protests in Caracas and elsewhere in the country marked the anniversary of Lopez's arrest.