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Venezuela lays out accusations against Guaido's top aide

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FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2019 file photo, Venezuela's Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez presents the country brand strategy to promote tourism in all its regions, in the Hotel Alba Caracas, in Caracas, Venezuela. Rodriguez went on state television Saturday, March 23, 2019, alleging that jailed top aide to opposition leader Juan Guaido, Roberto Marrero, was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's government is laying out accusations against a jailed top aide to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez went on state television Saturday alleging that Roberto Marrero was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations.

He showed screen grabs of cell phone conversations that he said are proof Marrero was orchestrating the hitmen's payment.

Marrero was taken from his home in the middle of the night by masked agents Thursday in a dramatic operation that has drawn international condemnation.

President Nicolas Maduro has refrained from having Guaido arrested, but analysts say Marrero's detention was a clear attempt to weaken his political foe.

Guaido characterized the operation as a sign that Maduro is losing his grip on power.

FILE - In this March 16, 2019 file photo, Roberto Marrero, center, applauds during an opposition rally led by Juan Guaido who has declared himself Venezuela's interim president, in Valencia, Venezuela. The country's communications minister went on state television Saturday, March 23, 2019, alleging that Marrero, Guaido's top aide, was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations. Marrero was taken from his home in the middle of the night by masked agents in a dramatic operation that has drawn international condemnation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)
In this March 21, 2019 photo, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido stands near a gate at the home of top aide Roberto Marrero, in Caracas, Venezuela. Marrero was taken away by intelligence agents in an overnight operation on his home early Thursday. Guaido characterized the operation as a sign that Nicolas Maduro is losing his grip on power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Government supporters listen to Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during an anti-imperialist rally for peace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an anti-imperialist rally for peace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2019 file photo, Venezuela's Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez presents the country brand strategy to promote tourism in all its regions, in the Hotel Alba Caracas, in Caracas, Venezuela. Rodriguez went on state television Saturday, March 23, 2019, alleging that jailed top aide to opposition leader Juan Guaido, Roberto Marrero, was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2019 file photo, Venezuela's Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez presents the country brand strategy to promote tourism in all its regions, in the Hotel Alba Caracas, in Caracas, Venezuela. Rodriguez went on state television Saturday, March 23, 2019, alleging that jailed top aide to opposition leader Juan Guaido, Roberto Marrero, was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
Government supporters listen to Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during an anti-imperialist rally for peace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Government supporters listen to Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during an anti-imperialist rally for peace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
FILE - In this March 16, 2019 file photo, Roberto Marrero, center, applauds during an opposition rally led by Juan Guaido who has declared himself Venezuela's interim president, in Valencia, Venezuela. The country's communications minister went on state television Saturday, March 23, 2019, alleging that Marrero, Guaido's top aide, was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations. Marrero was taken from his home in the middle of the night by masked agents in a dramatic operation that has drawn international condemnation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)
FILE - In this March 16, 2019 file photo, Roberto Marrero, center, applauds during an opposition rally led by Juan Guaido who has declared himself Venezuela's interim president, in Valencia, Venezuela. The country's communications minister went on state television Saturday, March 23, 2019, alleging that Marrero, Guaido's top aide, was the ringleader of a plot to bring hitmen from Central America to Venezuela to carry out assassinations. Marrero was taken from his home in the middle of the night by masked agents in a dramatic operation that has drawn international condemnation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an anti-imperialist rally for peace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an anti-imperialist rally for peace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this March 21, 2019 photo, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido stands near a gate at the home of top aide Roberto Marrero, in Caracas, Venezuela. Marrero was taken away by intelligence agents in an overnight operation on his home early Thursday. Guaido characterized the operation as a sign that Nicolas Maduro is losing his grip on power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
In this March 21, 2019 photo, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido stands near a gate at the home of top aide Roberto Marrero, in Caracas, Venezuela. Marrero was taken away by intelligence agents in an overnight operation on his home early Thursday. Guaido characterized the operation as a sign that Nicolas Maduro is losing his grip on power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)