Lunch Break: There's A Whole Lot Of Corruption... Inside The Opposition

The journalists from ArmandoInfo exposed a web of corruption inside the opposition that's shaking an already fragile parliament.

Photo: NoticiasCol, retrieved.
  • On Saturday, November 30th, website ArmandoInfo published an article revealing the connection between a group of opposition deputies (members of the National Assembly Comptrollership Commission) and Colombian citizen Carlos Lizcano, Álex Saab and Álvaro Pulido’s employee, who have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for their ties to the corruption schemes that have defined Clap programs. 
  • On November 16th, deputy José Guerra had announced the Green Briefcase Operation and warned about payments in dollars to deputies, to buy favors for corrupt citizens. According to the article, deputy Luis Parra conspired with Lizcano to recruit a group of deputies who signed the letters releasing the businessman and the company Salva Foods from the responsibility for irregularities and their relationship with Álex Saab. A copy was delivered to the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office and another was sent to the U.S. Treasury Department. Add to that operation, the super expensive purchase of land (to a company that only sells grains) and the deputies’ trips to Europe. 
  • Alongside deputy Luis Parra, ArmandoInfo mentioned Adolfo Superlano, José Brito and Conrado Pérez Linares, from Primero Justicia; Richard Arteaga and Guillermo Luces, from Voluntad Popular; Chaim Bucaram, Héctor Vargas and William Barrientos, from Un Nuevo Tiempo, and José Luis Pirela, formerly from Cambiemos and now from 16 de Julio fraction. All three parties announced disciplinary procedures and the dismissal of these deputies from their roles in AN commissions. Parra took the chance to harass journalist Roberto Deniz on social media and accuse him of extortion. 
  • On Saturday night, the Commission published a statement to declare a war against corruption. They also said that Álex Saab isn’t under investigation. Freddy Superlano announced that he’d separate from his role on the Commission until the investigation is over and encouraged those signaled out to do the same. The severity of this story doesn’t exclusively rest on the deputies’ shoulders, it’s on the reputation of the Commission, the only official institution with apparent independence who could investigate chavismo.
  • Juan Guaidó announced on Sunday: “All the deputies who are involved in these accusations will be suspended and we’ll additionally hold a thorough and independent investigation, with participation from the civil society, NGO and the free press.” He said that deputies won’t be removed from office, to comply with due process of parliamentary immunity removal. Guaidó said that all documents presented in the name of the Commission are now void, announced its immediate intervention and restructuring and explained that on Tuesday, December 3rd, there’ll be a TIAR council that will allow an in-depth investigation, saying he’ll contact all the governments that received letters from the Commission. Guaidó thanked the press for their work and invited journalists to present evidence when the case is debated. He also celebrated that the parties sanctioned their deputies and removed them from the commissions. “We won’t let corruption hurt what we’ve built at great cost,” Guaidó said. 
  • If chavismo indeed bought the group, it has something to pressure them, so disciplinary measures from their parties could divide them even further and form a new fraction that obeys the Psuv. Chavismo’s corruption is deep and broad. Even though it seems as if this disaster fell upon all opposition deputies, it doesn’t, and it’s necessary to repeat that Álex Saab’s schemes of corruption, who became a millionaire selling poor quality food for a populist program to the state and has been marked by corruption, brought all of this to the fore, as investigations by ArmandoInfo and the Department of State show. The opposition knew how to react to the investigation. There are consequences, decisions and sanctions. 
  • It’s a sad contrast, the difference between the exile of corrupted deputies versus deputies Mariela Magallanes and Américo De Grazia, who had been guests of the Italian Embassy in Caracas since May, after they were stripped of their parliamentary immunity. They left on Saturday for Italy, a “criminal and unfair” exile just as party La Causa R called it. 
  • NGO Prepara Familia announced the deaths of Nahia Pernalete (2 years old) and  Krisbelys Rujano (3 years old,) hematology patients at J.M. de los Ríos Hospital, while mayor Erika Farías announced a new Suena Caracas edition. On World AIDS Day, Venezuela has 60% of medicine shortage, which means over 70,000 lives at risk because of the government’s decision. 
  • You’ll find ArmandoInfo’s piece here and here.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.