Throughout his reign, Hugo Chavez was fond of denouncing ostensible US- and Western-fueled covert schemes designed to subvert both his presidency and his glorious socialist revolution, presumably to help keep the socialist dream alive by peddling nationalist visions of an actively hostile and imperialist United States against which the country could rally.

Reuters reports that, in kicking off his last week, opposition-party leader Henry Capriles mentioned that, if anything were to happen to him, it would be the fault of temporary stand-in president Nicolas Maduro and the remaining Chavez loyalists. Maduro, however, would like the world to know that in the most unfortunate event that Capriles’ safety should be compromised, it will be the result of a nefarious plot by, you guessed it: The United States. Apparently, we want to incite a coup, or something?

Venezuela’s acting president urged U.S. leader Barack Obama to stop what he called a plot by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency to kill his opposition rival and trigger a coup before an April 14 election.

Nicolas Maduro said the plan was to blame his opponent’s murder on the OPEC nation’s government and to “fill Venezuelans with hate” as they prepare to go to vote following the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Maduro first mentioned a plot against his rival, Henrique Capriles, last week, blaming it on former Bush administration officials Roger Noriega and Otto Reich. Both rejected the allegations as untrue, outrageous and defamatory.

“I call on President Obama – Roger Noriega, Otto Reich, officials at the Pentagon and at the CIA are behind a plan to assassinate the right-wing presidential candidate to create chaos,” Maduro said in a TV interview broadcast on Sunday.

Maduro, who is Chavez’s preferred successor, said the purpose of the plot was to set off a coup and that his information came from “a very good source.”

Maduro is the favorite to win the April election; but gee, Maduro, this doesn’t sound like you’re, at best, peddling more paranoia to unite your supporters or, at worst, sketchily planting the seeds for scapegoatism in the event that something does happen to Capriles, at all.