Lunch Break: Juan Guaidó in Colombia

The caretaker President is already in Bogota for a counter-terrorism summit. He has met with President Iván Duque and hopes to meet with Mike Pompeo and other Foreign ministers.

Photo: UPI, retrieved.
  • The recently re-elected Speaker of the National Assembly and caretaker President, Juan Guaidó, arrived at Bogota on Sunday and was greeted by President Iván Duque at Nariño House. In addition to meeting with Duque, Guaidó will hold a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and with foreign ministers from Latin America. This visit to Colombia is so Guaidó can denounce chavismo’s ties with Hezbollah, FARC and the ELN in the 3rd Hemispheric Conference for the Fight Against Terrorism, according to his press team. It’s the second time Guaidó defies the ban to leave the country imposed by the TSJ, while Maduro prepares in Caracas for another meeting of the diminished Sao Paulo Forum. 
  • “If there’s no respect among governments, no matter how large the U.S. is, with respect and dialogue, exchanging truthful information and communication, you bet you can build another kind of relationship,” said Nicolás Maduro to journalist Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post’s senior chief for South America and the Caribbean. Nicolás isn’t interested in negotiating free and fair elections, because according to him, he’s comfortable in the presidency. He’s ready to negotiate with Washington the end of sanctions, so American oil companies can benefit from Venezuelan oil. The man responsible for the worst economic and social crises, talks about “win-win” relationships and tries to make it look like he’s a trustworthy spokesperson. 
  • Journalist Roberto Deniz reported on ArmandoInfo about new efforts by the CLAP deputies in favor of businessmen controlling imports for this program in Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Portugal and Lichtenstein. In the last three, they moved for Salva Foods, Carlos Lizcano’s company, which owns Clap stores, and with plane tickets bought through Eurocontinentes, a travel agency owned by another Colombian citizen tied to Alex Saab, Álvaro Pulido and Carlos Lizcano’s network. At the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, said Deniz, Luis Parra said he was the president of a sub-commission investigating financial matters, even though he never held that position. 
  • The five-day period that the Supreme Tribunal of Justice gave to CLAP deputies for presenting the document of their self-proclamation expires today, Monday, January 20th. The leader of the chavista faction (even though he can’t be a deputy), Francisco Torrealba, assured that the lists exist, but it’s up to Luis Parra to deliver the report. On Monday night, Luis Parra tweeted that, from the speaker’s office in the Federal Legislative Palace, he will make “important announcements for the country, regarding international relations and elections” and said he’ll demand an audit of the resources sent by USAID that, according to him, are $467 million. 
  • TSJ is only quick when it comes to chavista causes, so it’s quite likely that within the week they’ll have answered José Brito’s claims to take over Primero Justicia. 
  • Rafael Ramírez, former minister and former president of Pdvsa, assured that in the ten years he was leading the oil company, $700,000 million were lost: “480,000 million because of fiscal income, in addition to Pdvsa’s own income, it could be around 700,000 million. Whatever the case, the question is: what did the Venezuelan state do with that amount of money?” he said to the Deutsche Welle, as if he could remove himself from the equation. To set himself apart from his successors, Ramírez explained that Manuel Quevedo is the GNB general who directed repression during the protests in 2017, and as a reward they made him director of the oil industry: “He doesn’t know anything about oil. He’s been in every GNB managing position (sic).” Once again, Ramírez assures he knows the numbers of chavismo’s pillaging (as if he wasn’t responsible or a beneficiary) and where that money is. “At least  30% of our income disappeared at the hands of corruption and squandering,” said Ramírez. Under his Pdvsa guidance, several grave cases like Fonden, Pdval, the fake insurance hired after the explosion at Amuay, the Chinese Fund and PetroCaribe occured, to name a few. 
  • OFAC once again extended the permit for oil exploitation by American companies in Venezuelan soil. This time, until April 22nd. This measure helps Nicolás’s oil minister’s plans, Manuel Quevedo, to stabilize and increase oil production that, without foreign hands, would be impossible due to the exodus of specialized Pdvsa workers. The OFAC also extended the license preventing Pdvsa 2020 bond holders to execute guarantees over Citgo for 90 days, a measure that favors the democratic cause.  
  • Spain’s El Mundo reported on Sunday that the Anti-Corruption Division accused the Spanish former ambassador in Venezuela during José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s government, Raúl Morodo, his son and two Venezuelan partners of taking more than 35 millions euros from Pdvsa, money they extracted to Spain through bank accounts in Switzerland and Panama. 
  • Jorge Arreaza arrived in Tehran on Sunday, for an official, three-day visit. 
  • The 12th GLobal Forum Conference for Migration and Development starts on Tuesday in Quito, with 150 countries, NGOs, UN agencies, scholars and experts in attendance. As expected, the Venezuelan exodus is one of the main topics and Ecuador will host representatives of the regime and the National Assembly.

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.