AP Agency and OAS «turn a blind eye» on Guaidó’s corruption
Little is said about Juan Guaidó and his false parallel government in Venezuela, but when it comes to scandals, his name is always ready to be the protagonist, especially when that implies being linked to multimillion-dollar thefts of resources and money belonging to the State, valued in billions of dollars.
Guaidó has been involved in several scandals since the Miami newspaper Panam Post published in June 2019 the corruption plot that occurred in Cúcuta, Colombia, with the attempted invasion of Venezuela under the cover of “the entrance” of false “humanitarian aid”, the resources sent by foundations and civil associations, the concert organized by Richard Branson to raise funds “for Venezuelans”, among other matters.
That time, the aforementioned media revealed the secrets that revolved around Guaidó and his trusted team, and how they appropriated resources that were supposedly intended for the care of vulnerable people in Venezuela.
While in Cúcuta, Guaidó and his people literally made disasters with the money: they hired prostitutes, abused drugs and alcohol, they bought luxury clothing, footwear, and jewelry, they spent thousands of dollars in parties, stayed in the most ostentatious hotels and they even went so far as to buy goods such as apartments and luxury vans, among others.
These scandals added to the robbery of the subsidiaries of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Petroquímica de Venezuela (Pequiven), such as the CITGO refinery in the United States and the company Monómeros in Colombia, respectively, which add resources and assets valued at more of 60,000 million dollars, were diminishing the sympathy that a certain part of the opposition had with the figure of Guaidó, whom they tried to sell as a messiah sent by Donald Trump.
This Thursday – April 23 – the Panam Post again uncovered another secret maneuver by Guaidó, based on an article published by the US news agency AP itself, and which was written by journalist Joshua Goodman.
In that publication entitled “Sources: Guaidó’s allies take a piece of Venezuela’s first budget”, AP highlights that the pseudo “deputies” of the false “National Assembly” created by Guaidó and his accomplices in January 2020, after he lost the position of president of the true Parliament that at the moment is under the direction of the opposition deputy of First Justice (Primero Justicia), Luis Parra; are going to start charging for their “legislative work” $ 5,000 a month, retroactive to January.
Guaidó uses the money stolen from the BCV
The agency adds that these salaries would be paid with the 80 million dollars that were stolen from the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), precisely, by the spurious assembly of Guaidó, which is only recognized by the Trump administration to continue perpetrating the theft of resources of Venezuela and executing the total blockade against its people.
Once Guaidó and the false deputies approve the theft of these resources deposited in the financial entity Citibank “to fight the coronavirus”, the US Treasury uses this document to withdraw the money “legally” and at the request “of Venezuela” to use it against Venezuela and give a good part to the seditious clan that in addition to Guaidó, are the following: Julio Borges, Carlos Vecchio, David Smolansky, Antonio Ledezma, Lilian Tintori, among others, as cliques.
“Opposition lawmakers in Venezuela quietly agreed in the second week of April 2020, to pay themselves $ 5,000 a month when they passed special $ 100 bonuses for doctors and nurses battling the coronavirus, a big payout for a nation in which the majority of workers manage with a couple of dollars a month, according to the people involved in the process”, the AP report quoted.
For its part, the Panam Post highlights the information in an article titled: “Venezuelan deputies secretly agreed to pay $ 5,000 a month in unfrozen resources” with a summary that adds: “The deputies would have approved the millionaire budget line in secret to take care of public opinion”.
In the note of the Panam Post, written by Sabrina Martín, a data is revealed that does not cease to go unnoticed and that is that “being a retroactive payment to January, this means that in May each opposition deputy will receive $ 25,000 from the thawed funds”.
“Everything seems to indicate that the announcement of the payment to health professionals would have been made with the aim of reducing criticism when it was discovered that, along with the $ 100 they would pay to health personnel fighting against the coronavirus, the deputies would receive $ 5,000 a month, to which must be added what Guaidó officials will receive abroad”, adds the analysis by journalist Martín.
Meanwhile, the original article published by AP reports that “the payment, which had not been previously reported, was introduced in legislation approved last week by the National Assembly establishing a $ 80 million ‘Liberation Fund’, made up from Venezuelan assets seized by the Trump administration as part of its sanctions campaign to remove socialist leader Nicolás Maduro”.
It also adds that everything that involves the use of these stolen resources has been done in secret: “But the details have been secretly wrapped up. The text of the new measure – which implements a general law passed in February creating the fund – has not been released. The official announcement makes no mention of wages, saying only that 17% of the $ 80 million in recovered assets will go to “the defense and strengthening of the national legislature and the social protection of its members”. Neither Guaidó nor anyone from the opposition has publicly offered an explanation.
It is not “salary” but “financial support”
The Panam Post adds that on April 22 “it contacted deputies from the National Assembly and they denied the figure, in addition to denying that it was a‘ salary ’, they branded it as an economic support”.
AP sources also confessed the following: «Two legislators and three assistants from Guaidó confirmed the salary plan and recognized that the view was potentially bad since many Venezuelans are struggling to face an economic crisis that has reduced the minimum wage to just two dollars a month. All five spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to be seen airing details of what they described as a fierce debate that lasted for months and threatened to divide the anti-Maduro coalition”.
According to the five people AP contacted: “The payments, which are retroactive to January, will also be made to alternate legislators, who often replace the large number of elected representatives forced into exile”.
In fact, Guaidó reported that these funds would be audited by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Panam Post reported that “it contacted sources from the organization and confirmed that it is false that these funds are going to be audited by the international organization”.
In this sense, the AP agency said: «Another 11% (of the budget) goes to diplomatic envoys in countries that recognize Guaidó as interim president. There is also money to strengthen the scope of the opposition’s communications plan and the judicial cooperation abroad”.
“The money comes from some $ 11.6 billion in frozen Venezuelan assets abroad, much of which comes from oil sales and profits from the Houston-based CITGO, a subsidiary of the state oil giant PDVSA, that the Trump government took from Maduro and that until now had refused to hand over Guaidó”.
Contradictions of Guaidó and his people
After the publication of the AP, Guaidó’s group issued a “statement” titled: “The legitimate government denies false information about the alleged salary of $ 5,000 per month to the deputies of the National Assembly”.
In this communiqué they assure that “in view of the false information that has circulated” the “deputies” have “five years without receiving income. Therefore, we defend the right and the need to guarantee resources for the operation of the Legislative Power, and the livelihood of the deputies of the National Assembly of Venezuela”.
Then it adds that they will determine the amount that these “deputies” will receive and that they will inform “the country in a transparent and timely manner”. The closing of the statement calls on “the population” on “the importance of consulting the official sources of the legitimate Government and the National Assembly to avoid becoming victims of disinformation.”
While the Guaidó communications team insists on denying that the false deputies will earn $ 5,000 a month and a “retroactive” of $ 25,000, the members of that spurious organization have confirmed that there is a fund for this purpose, because according to them, they have earned nothing in the time they have been working and their work requires “significant expenses”.
William Dávila, one of the “deputies” of this false parliament, contradicted the communications team of the self-proclaimed “president in charge” and admitted that they have talked among themselves about setting salaries that could be between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000 per month.
In an interview with the Mayan media outlet “El Venezolano TV”, Dávila said that they have discussed creating “an aid fund” for “the institutional strengthening” of the spurious Assembly, “which includes financial support for the deputies and assistants, principals and alternates, and all of the staff”.
“There has been talk of $ 5,000, there has been talk of $ 4,000, of $ 3,000. That is still not defined”, confessed Dávila, assuring that they “have received absolutely nothing”.
Dávila justifies these monthly income because there are “activities that have to be carried out as a result of parliamentary management, which includes a fund that has not yet been specifically determined of how much it will be”.
In the interview, Dávila complains about the criticism they have received after learning that they could charge up to $ 5,000 and retroactively of $ 25,000. “They begin with the comparisons of why some will receive and others will not, and so begins the criticism and the attack against us, the deputies, that we are not useful for anything, that we do nothing, how is it possible, you know”.
“Instead of attacking with questions about how much the regime earns, how much those associated with the regime earn, then at once, we are going to throw the battery at Guaidó and those of us in the assembly”, he added.
Juan Pablo Guanipa spoke in the same defensive tone, in another interview that they did via video call. “You have to have the understanding that the deputies must collect something”,
For Guanipa, although “the issue of the amount” is something that he supposedly “does not” handle, it is planned to “contribute resources” for “the operation” of the “management of the deputies”.
“As deputies, in the first place, we have not received, so that we are all clear. Here nobody (…) has been asked by any deputy how he has done to support his family, how he does to move to Caracas, for example in my case from Zulia, to move to Caracas is not just any situation and also three to four days in Caracas requires significant expenses”, he said.
According to Guanipa, these resources must guarantee “to provide the deputy with an amount that he has to report on how it is used” and “there are expenses that have to do with his management, with his deputation, with his safety”, because “a deputy has to look for an infrastructure so as to be able to function”.
He alleges that, for example, in his case, “they have beaten him twice in the street”, so “what is being attempted is that the deputy has some resources” to plan situations like these.
He also says that since “the money has not yet entered”, “any discussion” about the amount, “can be done at this time”. In addition, he assured that each “deputy” must “justify their expenses” and for this there will supposedly be “a comptroller commission”, “to ensure that public resources are used appropriately”.
“You have to be careful about the amounts but you have to have the understanding that the deputies must collect something”, he said. “Hopefully the discussion will take place and the amount will be approved definitively (…) I prefer at this time to be cautious and to discuss it (…) and to justify the amount and use (…) but there is money planned for the institutional strengthening ”, he said.
Opposition MP: This is morally unacceptable
The deputy to the National Assembly, José Brito, elected by the right-wing Primero Justicia party and who is part of the parliament chaired by Luis Parra, denounced that it is “ethically incorrect and morally unacceptable” that people complicit with Juan Guaidó, who participate in a parallel parliament, intend to steal money from the Venezuelan state at moments as critical as the current one, to pay each other salaries of $ 5,000 a month.
Through a video published on his social networks, Brito indicated that Guaidó intends to silence his accomplices with this stolen money from the BCV, by issuing a document that gives the US Government a total illegal permission to steal 80 million dollars of the BCV.
“Venezuela today needs transparency and explanations. In a country engulfed in an economic catastrophe and with a crisis in public services, there are deputies trying to collect $ 5,000 and give a doctor $ 100. Let’s talk clearly, the country does not deserve more lies”, deputy Brito wrote on his Twitter.
Then he details that Guaidó’s plan is to give $ 5,000 per month for each “main deputy” and 4,000 for each “alternate deputy”, with a retroactive of $ 25,000 for the former and $ 20,000 for the others.
“Health heroes are going to get a miserable $ 100, but those deputies who do not give a damn, who do not go to the National Assembly, $5,000. In a first world country like Spain, a deputy earns 2,800 euros (…) this is ethically incorrect and morally unacceptable”, stressed Brito.
“That is the salary that Alí Guaidó (in reference to Alí Babá) and the 40 thieves want to give each deputy to buy their complicit silence as a result of the dispossession of 80 million dollars from the BCV. But that is not all, while they give $ 5,000 for each main deputy, they will also have a retroactive bonus of $ 25,000 to pay right now, some with deposits in foreign accounts and others in cash”, he said.
Brito indicated that this situation must be denounced to the country and that he does not care that “those who intend to eat like a parrot in cornfield, making no noise (so nobody notices them)” describe him as “stupid”.
“I appeal to the moral reserve that exists in parliament to reject this situation as such (…) it cannot be that they are bleeding the country’s coffers, especially at such critical moments (…) with people who live day to day, that is desperate, that the true heroes of health care system are with very little funds and going crazy”, he stressed.
Brito also stated, referring to the group that revolves around the figure of Guaidó, that “those who two years ago tried to become or establish themselves as the cure or in any case the remedy, ended up being worse than the disease itself”.
The small writing in Guaidó’s plan
The Venezuelan Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodríguez, spoke of the distribution of money that Guaidó would make to health personnel through a website he created.
Guaidó promised that he would deposit the amount of $ 100 to Venezuelan doctors, after registering on the website. However, the aforementioned platform has not had the best technological performance, since in a couple of opportunities it ‘fell’, Rodríguez explained.
The minister said that the alleged allocation of money will be to those who are elected and not to the entire universe of Venezuelan health personnel.
“What it says in small letters on the page is that they are only going to give $ 100 to those they choose, it is not to all the doctors and all the nurses, and in four days the registration period on a supposed page of Facebook that does not exist, because when you try to open it, it does not open”, he denounced.
“But that’s not what he (Guaido) had said – he continued- and where do those dollars come from, out of his pocket?” No. Of the hundreds of millions of dollars in an account that CITGO and Monómeros had, as well as the hundreds of millions that are frozen in Europe and that could perfectly be used in Venezuela to address the pandemic.
“Not a single doctor or a single nurse has been able to collect a single penny. The ones who did collect were the opposition deputies”, Rodríguez explained, mentioning the information published by the AP and replicated by the Panam Post detailing the” slice “received by “Guaidó’s allies “of the money stolen from all Venezuelans.