An explosive new report reveals how Guaidó representatives in Colombia embezzled $125,000 meant for humanitarian aid, suckering deserting soldiers and blowing the aid money on luxury goods.
by Dan Cohen
by Dan Cohen
Part 5 - “They will burn it, I imagine”
While the money intended for defecting soldiers padded the pockets of Popular Will leaders, hundreds of tons of food donated by the USAID and other countries that was stored in Cúcuta wound up rotting. The figure Guaidó had appointed as his liaison to USAID was Venezuelan businessman Miguel Sabal.
Sabal is the president of the Present Future Association, which was founded by Popular Will member Yon Goicoechea after he won $500,000 from the Koch Brothers through the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. Back in 2010, Sabal participated in the Mexican Fiesta plot along with Guaidó and others where they received training from the CANVAS regime change group and plotted the assassination of Maduro.
After the February 23 aid operation floundered, Sabal let the food rot in the steaming tropical heat. “Everything [Chilean] President Piñera sent is no longer useful,” a source told Avendaño. “It’s there. They do not know what to do with it [the rotten food] so that a scandal is not created. They will burn it, I imagine.”
When I was in downtown Cúcuta last February, I saw desperation at every turn. Impoverished Venezuelan migrants could be found on street corners begging for money and food. Many had left Venezuela hoping for better conditions in Colombia only to find a situation that was at least as dire. One pregnant woman told me she was considering giving away her baby in order to give it a better life. Rather than hand the aid to the migrants around Cúcuta, Guaidó’s representatives apparently chose to burn it.
For exposing the corruption in Guaidó’s inner circle, Avendaño has received an onslaught of hatred and harassment from opposition figures. The pushback has forced the anti-Maduro journalist into a defensive crouch.
“It has cost me, it has deeply hurt me, to publish something that, I knew, would have immense consequences,” he wrote. “But I would never have forgiven myself that I had known that some traded in the misery of others, and not published it.”
For Guaidó, the fall out is already beginning. Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro – an anti-Maduro fanatic who has transformed the OAS into a playground for Venezuela’s opposition – has called for a full investigation. It is hard to see how an already deflated Guaidó will be able to recover from this massive blow to his credibility as a self-proclaimed reformer. While Guaidó’s support in the streets of Venezuela is rapidly deteriorating, the Trump administration has yet to address the scandal and continues to voice strong support for their man in Caracas.