World, Americas

Venezuela: Gov't accuses Guaido leading criminal group

Vice president calls for judicial action against opposition leader

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 06.09.2019
Venezuela: Gov't accuses Guaido leading criminal group

ANKARA

Venezuela's government has accused the opposition leader Juan Guaido of leading "a criminal group" and urged judicial authorities to take action.

"It is a criminal organization that did not start on January 10," Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Thursday on Venezuelan state television, referring to the date Guaido declared himself interim president.

"The only objective of the organization" is Venezuelan oil, said Rodriguez and recalled the U.S. sanctions were imposed on Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA and its U.S. subsidiary Citgo on January.

"This criminal organization acts directly to satisfy the interests of transnational companies," she added.

The vice president said that the alleged Guaido-led organization is acting against "the interests of the Venezuelan people" and "violating human rights, affecting the population and its integrity and undermine the right of the Venezuelan people to have peace and stability".

To support her claims, Rodriguez referred to a phone conversation between Guaido's advisers, Vanessa Neumann and Manuel Avendano, where Neumann said the actions of Guaido in Venezuela had been organized way before his self-proclamation.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been focusing on economic and diplomatic measures against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, including imposing sanctions on him, his top officials, and several governmental departments as it seeks to ramp up pressure on him to step down.

After imposing sweeping sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA in January, Trump issued an executive order earlier this month freezing all assets in the U.S. belonging to the Venezuelan government in a significant escalation of tensions with Caracas.

Since the beginning of this year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as Maduro and Guaido engage in a power battle amid a dire economic crisis in the Latin American nation.

Guaido in January proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president, dismissing Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud, in a move recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S.

But Venezuelan state institutions, the military, and many countries including Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey have put their weight behind Maduro.

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