CARACAS, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan authorities have arrested 58 foreigners suspected of inciting unrest and violence during recent anti-government protests, the country's interior and justice minister said here Friday.
Miguel Rodriguez Torres told a press conference that the suspects had connections with extreme right-wing groups that launched a wave of violent protests starting in February that have left 41 people dead and hundreds injured.
"So far we have 58 foreign detainees ... almost all of them implicated in the use of weapons," said Rodriguez, adding it was usual that such anti-government movements involved recruiting mercenaries.
Some of the suspects have ties to former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe, said Rodriguez, accusing Uribe of being involved in a meticulous plan to spark the unrest and bring down President Nicolas Maduro.
Opposition protesters denied any foreign interference, saying the protests were born out of frustration with Venezuela's grim economic problems.
Rodriguez said Luis Enrique Lizcano Villamizar, a Colombian citizen who was captured for helping train protesters to use violent tactics in Venezuela's Zulia state, had photographs of himself and Uribe.
Yolanda Lara and Jose Fernandez, Spanish specialists in arming explosive devices, were arrested for plotting assassination against Yaracuy Governor Julio Leon, he said.
Others arrested also included a Colombian wanted by Interpol on drug trafficking charges.