Embezzlement, Living Lavishly Off Humanitarian Aid | Corruption Scandal Involving Party Officials Could Spell the End for Guaido

in #corruption2 years ago (edited)

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international affairs

A scandal is brewing in the Popular Will party of Juan Guaido.
Reports of senior members of the Popular Will party and Guaido's representatives embezzling large sums of humanitarian funds and spending these donations on luxury goods and lavish parties are beginning to emerge.

At the centre of the growing scandal is Juan Guaido's chief of staff and members of Popular Will, USAID funding, and Richard Brandson's Live Aid concert.

As senior members of the US government were in the midst of ratcheting up tensions with a full court press of state propaganda to trigger regime change in Venezuela, Guaido's representatives in Columbia were living lavishly off humanitarian funds.

The fraud scheme was revealed through leaked receipts and documents obtained by Colombian intelligence as part of an ongoing investigation. The receipts Avendaño published show more Guaidó’s representatives blew more than $125,000 on luxury goods and personal expenses, including nearly $40,000 on expenses in April. Avendaño has yet to publish all of the documents he received, so the total that was stolen remains unknown.

From coup leaders to con artists  Juan Guaidó s gang exposed for massive humanitarian aid fraud   The Grayzone.png

The Grayzone

The Columbian town of Cucuta is ground zero for the scandal being brought to light. The town, bordering Venezuela, was the site of the February 23rd Live Aid (type) concert championed by Virgin Group billionaire Richard Brandson. The concert itself was (billed) as fundraiser to raise millions for humanitarian aid and feed the starving people of Venezuela.

Not far away, a bridge at the border between Columbia and Venezuela and one that had never been opened in its existence became the focal point of the international media. Trucks carrying ‘so called’ international humanitarian aid were set ablaze on the Columbian side of the bridge while Venezuelan troops stood by and watched the chaos unfold. While war mongers Pompeo, Bolton, Rubio and Abrams (an actual war criminal) howled for the aid to be permitted into the country the mainstream outlets were quick to blame the Venezuela government for torching the aid trucks. Never mind the fact that the humanitarian aid was not requested, or that US sanctions on Venezuela are a giant contributing factor, or that the country was receiving aid from other nations at the time of the much publicized bridge drama, thanks to the great reporting from The Grayzone it was revealed that the hooligans within the opposition and regime change supporters were the ones responsible for setting the humanitarian aid trucks on fire as the Venezuelan army blocked access into the country.

These did not age well:

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Imagine All The Propaganda

In a massive piece of propaganda, Richard Brandson organized a Live Aid concert in the town of Cucuta to raise money for the starving people in Venezuela.

Reflecting the hollowness of Branson’s manufactured Live Aid concert complete with a cringe inducing cover of John Lennon's "Imagine", Guaido has been exposed as having anemic support amongst the general population and working class Venezuelans who, until recently, had largely never heard of Juan Guaido.

Branson professed that his last minute Live Aid event would raise $100 million for the humanitarian cause, but it was never clear as to how these funds would be distributed and to whom. As it turns out, the Venezuelan Live Aid concert raised only 2.5 million dollars according to its organizers.

Despite the massive propaganda campaign to usher in another disastrous US intervention, support for Guaido’s coup has fizzled out dramatically.

The event was also suppose to coordinate closely with the delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela which ultimately became the border bridge truck burning incident.

Metro Ecuador


On March 21st, Juan Guaido’s chief of staff Roberto Marrero was arrested by Venezuelan authorities for plotting terrorist attacks. Marrero’s replacement as Guaido’s chief of staff, Rossana Barrera along with another Popular Will official, regional coordinator Kevin Rojas, are the individuals at the heart of the embezzlement scandal.

While the aid truck fiasco at the border is considered to be a major setback for pro-interventionist and regime change backers heralded the defection of a few hundred Venezuelan soldiers to Columbia as a resounding success.

Guaido and his supporters envisioned that they would orchestrate a flood of defectors to the opposition side and cause the collapse of the Venezuelan army's command and control structure. In order to bring this to fruition, a wide range of promises were made to potential defectors:

  • amnesty
  • employment
  • medical care
  • free lodging
  • schooling for their children
  • Chilean officials also offered one-year Visas and a chance at permanent residency to Venezuelan forces.

Initially, defecting soldiers arriving in Cucuta were put up in 9 hotels at a cost of $30,000 a night. Guaido’s own Humanitarian Aid Coalition, the Columbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNHCR pledged to jointly cover the expense.

However, over the next several weeks the funds promised to support the Venezuelan deserters quickly evaporated and by May Guaido’s representatives ceased communicating with the soldiers.

The cash that was used to entice desperate soldiers and would-be mercenaries to defect became a slush fund for the US-backed coup leader and his gaggle, who spent it lavishly on hotels, expensive dinners, nightclubs and designer clothes. As Guaidó’s gang lived the high life, he covered for their fraud, keeping his lips sealed until it was exposed through a leak by the Colombian intelligence services.

The Grayzone

As the coup to overthrow Maduro stalled, Guaido's small opposition forces of deserter troops remained in wait in Cucuta but Popular Will only ended up paying for 2 of the 9 hotels used to house the troops. This did not go over well with the Columbian government and the UNHRC who were also expected to share in hosting the force. At the same time, the soldiers themselves become increasingly disillusioned and complained that Popular Will was not keeping up their end of the bargain.

Guaido’s “army was small but at this point it had left a very bad impression in Cucuta. Prostitutes, alcohol, and violence. They demanded and demanded,” the report said.

Mint Press News

Barrera and Rojas even fraudulently inflated the numbers of defectors from 700 to 1,450 soldiers in order to secure a larger amount of funding to embezzle and spend at will.

The pair reported to the Popular Will party in Caracas that they had covered the expenses of 7 of the 9 soldier hotels but, in reality, the majority of the hotels had huge outstanding bills, one unpaid hotel debt was said to be $20,000. Meanwhile Barrera and Rojas were spending close to $1,000 per night on their own hotels and at Columbian nightclubs.

Quoting PanAm Post editor-in-chief and anti-Maduro journalist Orlando Avendaño, who originally broke the story, Popular Will representatives splurged humanitarian funds on self-indulgence.

“About a thousand dollars in drinks and meals. Clothing expenses in very expensive stores in Bogotá and in Cúcuta. Vehicle rental reports and hotel payments at surcharge. Silver flowing. A lot of money”

The Grayzone

By mid-May, looking to keep their freewheeling lifestyle afloat Barrera and Rojas attempted to host a fraudulent charity dinner at an upscale restaurant in Bogotá to raise money for the Venezuelan defector soldiers and their families. They even created a fake email account for Humberto Calderon Berti, Juan Guaido’s “ambassador” to Columbia and sent invitations to foreign embassies and staff. Another complete fraud, but this time it was thwarted when Berti’s office caught wind of the event and made it clear to potential attendees that they were not behind the event. As a result, the phony charity dinner was cancelled. Word had spread throughout the Columbian government of the frauds being committed by the Popular Will representatives and Barrera and Rojas were quietly stripped of their positions.

Damage Control

The Hindu
metro ecuador

Although “interim president” was well aware of the hedonistic debauchery going on under the Popular Will flag in Columbia, Guaido continued to stand in solidarity with his representatives throughout the period in question. Yet, only now as the scandal threatens to spill into the public space Guaido and his “ambassador” are taking to social media calling for "transparency" in a desperate attempt to control the narrative. Taking to Twitter Guaido and Berti actually admitted to they had been aware of the scandal for months and had ordered an investigation into the matter thanks to Columbian intelligence they had received.

Juan Guaidó   jguaido    Twitter.png

The scandal goes even deeper as PanAm Post is reporting that the food aid being stored in Cucuta is rotting away and that it’s likely that the food will be burned in order to cover-up the fact and create a separate scandal. Grayzone reporter, Dan Cohen, relates that rather than burning the food, the aid could have been used to feed the scores of desperate Venezuelans already in Cucuta and on the Columbian side of the border.

After breaking the story on the Popular Will scandal, Avendaño, the PanAm Post editor, is coming under heavy fire for exposing Guaido and his corrupt cohorts.

“It has cost me, it has deeply hurt me, to publish something that, I knew, would have immense consequences. But I would never have forgiven myself that I had known that some traded in the misery of others, and not published it.”


"Humanitarian" Ploy

This scandal exposes the ploy to use humanitarian aid as a political tool in an international regime change operation. From the actions of the Popular Will officials it’s plain to see that they care nothing for humanitarian causes and removing Maduro for their foreign financial backers is their only concern, aside from lining their own pockets. If the coup were to have been successful, rest assured we would have seen rampant corruption on a grand scale. Guaido and his ilk or not revolutionaries, they're manufactured cut outs.

After the spectacular failed coup attempt by Guaido and his supporters, it appears that the CANVAS trained, self-proclaimed interim president and western pawn’s days are numbered. The Popular Will’s shelf life mirrors the rotting humanitarian food aid sitting idle at the border. Guaido and his party will likely continue to sour in the eyes of their western backers and their “popular” support will likely disintegrate simultaneously.




Why I am not surprise, i recognize some of those names lol, Rojas family is happy in the USA and Avendano oh well, I am impress he even publish it. But a lot of these folks are finally waking up to the coffee. They often brush aside Chavez but it was starting to crack from day one, his representative for the UK had no clue of Venezuelan history or that of South America. In fact, Guaido and his team started to crack when they talk about removing the policies that Chavez had implemented. Then they tried to demonized and paint Maduro and Chavez as the problem of Venezuela. What people don't realize, Venezuela supply chain belongs to the hands of a few family, its quite an interesting system to be honest. Even before the sanction started kicking in, this group started rationing the goods. Lots of people did not realize that the tipping point of economy actually started in 2014, the collapse of Oil prices provided the opportunity to dismantle lots of the programs that derive its funding from Oil revenues. Maduro also did not play his cards right, you simply cannot be enemies of these people. Chavez knew how to play them, Maduro did not have that skill. It was also a policy decision of Obama administration to intensify the efforts of dismantling the administration. These family group that control most of the supply chain started rationing goods, basically targeting pro-government areas, then they started demanding US dollars which typical Venezuelan cannot get. This went on for months, I was in Aruba at the time, so i notice the influx of Venezuelans. In Venezuela, there is also a distinct class structure, Chavez manage to mobilize the poor and middle class working Venezuelans to support his vision. While many talk about crisis in Venezuela and how rich it was, that's not true, similar to what exist in the USA existed in Venezuela at the time, you had a country where 1% were the main benefactors of the Oil revenue and greater population lived a life of poverty. That's why when the USA tried to over-throw him, 1 million plus people took to the streets demanding his return or the oil fields go up in flames. Bush had to back down or risk Exxon Mobil and others companies fleeing the country. Well I believe now, the nationalizing of the resources triggered Washington harsh policy approach. Because you had a situation where American companies dominated the market and now they are gone. Chavez mended some of the hurt between relation and invited them back but with limited freedom that they once enjoyed.

This is just a snapshot of some of the events. Let me highlight some of the achievements which Chavez had and why the chavista movement is so strong. Chavez isn't your typical socialist. What he believed is that the wealth of the country should be for the enjoyment of all the people of the country and not a few. He had two very effective program, land distribution and housing. Prior to Chavez, land ownership in Venezuela was a luxury for the rich, Chavez change. Many people benefited from land distribution. There was also a housing program, millions of people benefited, for the first time a typical Venezuelan had a home. Now this is a big thing, probably one of his most impacting policy decision. Chavez did not stop there he had his weekly talk show programs where he challenge Venezuelans to start think like Kings and Queens. He reiterated the teaching of Simon Bolivar, and emphasize their roots of Africa. Lots of this may seem irrelevant but one of the damages of colonialism especially in the Caribbean and Central and South America is the defeated mentality people have of themselves. Chavez reach out to his neighbors and Caribbean and said, things are going to change, and this is now my policy, we are brothers and sisters. American think tank saw this message as a threat, now if you study American history in this part of the hemisphere, you understand why. Quite frankly, I get where the Americans are coming from, you can't be talking about taking care of your people and neglecting the profits that my companies could make. Chavez was letting neighboring countries especially those with large Afro population to pay for Oil at 40 to 50 dollars a barrel, this got the American piss.

Again I probably summarized, and my dad would say this, with American you shake their hands when they reach out but never forget your history and who your loyalty belongs to no matter how much money is on the table. A lot of these countries especially in South and Central America has just been on the wrong end of American misguided foreign policies.

Thank you this is an incredible comment, it's so detailed and I love that you explain how a small faction of elites in Venezuela control the supply chain and their role in manufacturing the crisis. Chavez has been demonized but you're absolutely right he has done a lot for the poor of his country and for it's neighbouring countries in the region (Petro Caribe, etc) and much of the context is omitted in any discussion by corporate controlled media. Thank you, extremely insightful.

The truth is that the only ones who really control all the supplies are the mafia who are composed by the corrupts in the dictatorship circle.

There have been elites that have tried to control the market. That's understandable, but they didn't provoke the humanitarian crises .

"Chavez has been demonized but you're absolutely right he has done a lot for the poor of his country"

The contribution from was Chavez was nothing more than to keep people poor. Ironically, that wouldn't look so bad, though it REALLY is, compared the current dictator.

The monster turned prosper people into poor homless. And it worst of all, it was by design (Cuba intervention). Sink them into extreme poverty, you will control them.

One of your most revealing and detailed posts exposing corruption. I am extremely grateful for your persistent courage in the face of repression of free speech being executed globally today.

I would suggest checking on the spelling of Sir Richard Branson's name. I believe you add a 'd' that is a mispelling, and feel your statement:

"...Abrams (an actual war criminal)"

Should reflect that Abrams has been convicted of war crimes, and that is the difference between himself and the other war criminals you mention in that comment.


Cheers, and thanks for the correction! I had used both spellings for some reason , maybe I was thinking about his Virgin 'brand', i don't know. But I'm happy you caught that, thanks. Yes, Elliot Abrams presence in the whole affair is an grotesque affront to true humanitarianism and to the people in the global south. But, as you and I both know he's the only one who's actually been 'convicted' the rest of them will likely never face any real consequences for promoting and overseeing America's disastrous wars.

I am firmly convinced that evil sows the seeds of it's own destruction. Empires topple eventually, and Abrams, Bolton, Pompeo and others are marked by their own deeds for justice when events spiral beyond their control. My grasp of history and comparisons of the extant geopolitical circumstances to prior situations reveals many indications of imperial weakness, not least the eruption of desperate censorship, which always precedes failure of the political institutions that use it to try to stave off reality.

Delusional people do not grasp that their mental gymnastics do not work outside their heads. They can fool themselves, but by doing that they become divorced from facts, and - as I pointed out above - they thereby sow the seeds of their destruction.

Thanks for keeping it real.

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I wonder what it's been like for Chavez and Maduro actually sparring against the full weight of the pressure's and punishment's of the United States of America especially the CIA. Those 2 have been up against billions of dollars spent trying to oust them and their government, what kind of stories do you have being on the receiving end of a full effort against you by the U.S. Government, Covert, Military, all of them, what a crazy story they would have to tell, I'm sure Maduro is paranoid in real life. I think the Guaido coup is the strangest coup on record complete with U.S. State Department hand picked employee's of the newly created Government of Venezuela, and only backed by their Creator's, the U.S. Government, with the Twitter war against Venezuela by Trump and his cabinet you would think they would have violated Twitter's rights of usage for bullying another nation state. What could Venezuela have been without the manipulation from the West, or did the U.S. fill a power vacuum left in place by local gangsters taken out by s bigger competitor, it is one incredible story.

Politics and their dirty games

I do hope this story makes its way to the people of Venezuela who need to wake up and see things for what they are, not what they wish or hope.
What irritates me most is that people believed all their lies and took to the streets, a few (fortunately not that many) actually died during that aid stunt... and for what? So those guys can party over the border... so depressing
On the other hand, with the US now focused on Iran maybe they leave Venezuela alone for the time being, as they cannot afford two conflicts at the same time. Although that doesn't excludes economic sabotage, like those power outages earlier this year.

Wow, with so much on the line, how could they be so sloppy? Could they just not help themselves from taking those funds? I would think they already had enough money (from their backers) to live the 'high life'. I guess greed truly knows no limits.

I'll share this around the usual places, thanks for your reporting @v4vapid.

Dig deeper, you understand why Chavez choose Maduro to be the person to take up the job should he die. There is a lot to this Venezuela story that the world does not know and the truth would come out with time. It would be nice if the media gave a complete picture of Chavez and what he accomplished. Maduro isn't perfect but the mistake he made was not giving the Americans their share of the pie.

Both sides have dirt in the closest, ironically Maduro is probably the only one in the camp capable of turning down millions of dollars from Oil executives looking for lucrative contracts.

Embezzlement, Living Lavishly Off Humanitarian Aid | Scandal Involving Party Officials Could Spell the End for Guaido

I’m afraid The Empire want and favor a “candidate” with exactly those “qualities”, @v4vapid… :(

@v4vapid, Corruption really killed this world and due to this virus today we see evil difference of 99% and 1%.

In my opinion future is very scary because we are living in the phase of Awakening and everything is open, but still people are closing their eyes and we are watching the games of system and system is very experienced in this game. Stay blessed.

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when i am not mature my thought was that only in Pakistan this type of
corruption happened but when i become mature i realized that, this is not
only the problem of my country whole world is addicted to this disease.
but one thing i can never understand that is these peoples are enough
rich but why they use over funds or govt funds...

Can't really replace a corrupt socialist government with a socialist opposition that wants to be corrupt :^)

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Oh my god !

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