The Venezuelan government has released what it says is more evidence of Western-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s ties to notorious Colombian drug lords and paramilitaries.
Last week, a Colombian NGO published photos showing of Guaido and two other people, who were identified as members of Los Rastrojos, a paramilitary criminal organization operating on the border between Venezuela and Colombia.
It was alleged that Guaido had crossed the border with the help of the gangsters.
Guaido’s clothes in the photos are the same that he wore during his trip to Colombia in February. The images were first revealed by ‘Con el Mazo Dando,’ a TV program hosted by Diosdado Cabello, an influential Venezuelan MP.
Cabello also reported that Los Rastrojos had tried to kill a man known as ‘El Menor,’ one of the two cartel members shown alongside Guaido in photos that emerged last week.
He said that assassins had failed to find him and instead killed his parents and two other family members in what he called an obvious attempt to cover up the scandal.
After the initial allegation emerged, Guaido denied that he had received any help from Los Rastrojos and said the two members were among hundreds of people with whom he posed for selfies after crossing the border.
Colombian authorities, who support Guaido’s claim in Venezuela, confirmed that the two individuals were members of the organization, but said that the opposition leader was not accompanied by any criminal during his visit to the country.
Los Rastrojos are one of several paramilitary groups operating in the border area. They are involved in various crimes including illegal mining, racketeering, trafficking of drugs and gasoline, kidnappings and assassinations.
Among the men photographed with Guaido is Ivan Posso Pedrozo, aka ‘Nandito,’ the cartel’s logistics and finance officer.
He was captured by Venezuela near the Colombian border in 2018. The government released an interrogation video, in which Pedrozo admitted organizing Guaido’s travel through Colombia.
The gangsters planned to start riots along the border as a distraction, while they smuggled Guaido into Colombia, Rodriguez said.
He also claimed that they have taken and retained photos with the opposition leader as an “insurance policy” so the cartel could blackmail the politician if he comes to power in Venezuela.
Guaido and his supporters have made several calls for the army and police to join them in toppling Maduro, but they remained loyal to the government.
ABC Flash Point OAS News 2019.