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Venezuela opposition: Cuba calls the shots

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By The Associated Press
Monday, May 20, 2013, 9:39 p.m.

CARACAS — Venezuela's opposition on Monday released an audio recording that it said contains a prominent member of the ruling party discussing political strategy with a Cuban intelligence officer.

Opposition lawmaker Ismael Garcia said the recording captures a phone conversation between state TV personality Mario Silva, a staunch government ally, and a Cuban identified as Lt. Col. Aramis Palacios.

Venezuela's opposition has long accused Cuban leaders of wielding influence behind the scenes in guiding government decisions. For its part, the Venezuelan government accuses opposition leader Henrique Capriles of being a puppet of the United States.

Garcia didn't say when the conversation was recorded or how he obtained it.

In it, a man identified as Silva is heard discussing a split in the ruling socialist party between parliament leader Diosdado Cabello and President Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez's successor.

The man says he worries that Cabello, a former army officer, is conspiring against the president, who narrowly defeated Capriles in an April 14 election.

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