[News] Venezuela: Guaido to Use Funds Frozen in US to Pay Loyalists $5000 Monthly Salaries

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Apr 24 11:58:11 EDT 2020


  Venezuela: Guaido to Use Funds Frozen in US to Pay Loyalists $5000
  Monthly Salaries

By Lucas Koerner - Apr 23rd 2020

Santiago de Chile, April 23, 2020 (venezuelanalysis.com 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/>) - Venezuelan opposition legislators 
have awarded themselves a monthly salary of US $5000, the Associated 
Press reported <https://apnews.com/bd68454e33c7cf5a57fe7bdfa32fe5a7> on 

Two opposition deputies and three aides to opposition leader Juan Guaido 
confirmed the salaries on condition of anonymity, concerned that the 
disclosure could cause further rifts in the anti-government ranks.

The payout provision was secretly tucked into a bill passed last week by 
lawmakers loyal to Guaido, which establishes a $80 million “Liberation 
Fund” to provide healthcare workers combatting the coronavirus pandemic 
with US $100 bonuses for a duration of three months.

Around 60,000 healthcare providers will reportedly qualify for the 
monthly benefit, which will be transferred electronically via a digital 
platform managed by the Organization of American States.

It is unclear how the beneficiaries will be able to access and spend the 
bonuses, as most monetary transactions in Venezuela involve physical 
dollar payments or electronic payments in bolivars.

When announcing 
the plan last week, Guaido did not, however, divulge that $13.6 million, 
or 17 percent of the fund, is earmarked for “the defense and 
strengthening of the national legislative power and the social 
protection of its members”, which will be paid retroactively to January.

Guaido proclaimed himself “interim president 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14244>” in January 2019 and was 
immediately recognized by Washington, which imposed an oil embargo 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14615> and moved to freeze an 
estimated $11.6 billion in Venezuelan state assets in the US, including 
bank accounts as well as Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA’s 
US-based subsidiary, Citgo.

According to AP, the “Liberation Fund” will be financed via funds frozen 
in US-based Venezuelan government accounts.

The Trump administration recently moved $342m 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14850> belonging to the Venezuelan 
Central Bank (BCV) from a frozen Citibank account to an account at the 
New York Federal Reserve. The Guaido-led opposition reportedly 
“approved” the measure, which the BCV called “plunder.”

AP reports that an additional 11 percent of the $80 million allocated 
will cover the expenses of diplomatic staff in countries that recognize 
Guaido, while other funds will be dedicated to communications outreach 
and judicial cooperation abroad.

The plan likewise contains a provision to include substitute opposition 
lawmakers on the $5000 monthly payroll.

Nonetheless, it remains to be seen how many legislators in the 
opposition-controlled National Assembly will receive the salaries.

Guaido lost <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14755> the presidency of 
the National Assembly in January following a split in the opposition. He 
proceeded to set up a parallel parliament 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14759> composed largely of substitute 
and exiled legislators, which retains support from the US, regional 
allies, and the European Union.

The dissident opposition faction currently at the helm of the National 
Assembly under President Luis Parra, as well as pro-government 
legislators, will very likely be excluded from the payout. Parra and 
other opposition figures were sanctioned 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14764> after breaking ranks with 
Guaido in January.

Guaido has yet to gain access to the $80 million, which the Trump 
administration must reportedly approve by granting a special license 
access to a five-member commission.

Washington has repeatedly dispensed funds to the Venezuelan opposition, 
including $98 million in October 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14685> and $52 million in September 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14668> of last year.

The Venezuelan opposition under Guaido was dogged by corruption scandals 
in the second half of 2019. The opposition leader’s envoys to Colombia 
were revealed to have embezzled 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14545> hundreds of thousands of 
dollars of “humanitarian aid” destined for deserting soldiers, while 
corruption allegations <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14739> hang 
over the opposition’s management of a Venezuelan petrochemical 
subsidiary in Colombia. Guaido also came under fire after photos 
surfaced showing him posing alongside notorious Colombian drug lords Los 
Rastrojos <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14656>.

/With additional reporting by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida./

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