A powerful Venezuelan leader may have issued an order to kill Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), a vehement critic of Venezuela's socialist government who has been guarded by a security detail for several weeks in both Washington and Miami after learning of the death threat.
The death order was outlined in a memo to several law enforcement agencies distributed last month by the Department of Homeland Security, which was obtained by the Miami Herald. Diosdado Cabello, a prominent lawmaker from the ruling Socialist Party, is believed to have made the order, although federal authorities could not verify if the threat was real.
Cabello, a former vice president and head of parliament who continues to have significant political influence, may have contacted "unspecified Mexican nationals" in connection with his plan to harm Rubio, according to the memo. The intelligence revealed an "order to have Senator Rubio assassinated," but noted that "no specific information regarding an assassination plot against Senator Rubio has been garnered thus far."
Rubio's press office and the Capitol Police declined comment on the seriousness of the threat. The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington also declined to comment over the weekend; the country's Ministry of Communication and Information told the Herald it could not respond to media queries until Monday.
Cabello and Rubio have sparred on Twitter, where Rubio has called Cabello "the Pablo Escobar of Venezuela." Cabello has called Rubio "Narco Rubio."
The U.S. believes Cabello controls all of Venezuela's security forces, the Herald noted.
Rubio has played a major role in consulting President Donald Trump on U.S. policy regarding Venezuela.