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Russian pranksters posing as Swiss president call Guaido, talk freezing Maduro’s ‘crime monies’

 

© AFP 2018 / YURI CORTEZ
RT | March 14, 2019

The self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, has fallen victim to a famous Russian prankster duo, discussing freezing Maduro’s Swiss bank accounts and even sending them an “official request” to do so.

The comedic duo of two Russian pranksters – Vladimir ‘Vovan’ Kuznetsov and Alexei ‘Lexus’ Stolyarov – notorious for their high-profile pranks of politicians world-wide, released an audio, which purportedly captured their “talks” with Guaido on Thursday.

The prank victim apparently found the pranksters after the duo called the US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, impersonating the President of Switzerland, and the chief of the nation’s Department of Finance, Ueli Maurer.

Shortly after the call, they were contacted by an “ambassador of the new Venezuelan government,” Carlos Vecchio, who then arranged talks with the ‘interim president’ himself. According to the pranksters, Guaido insisted on holding the “talks” only through Skype or WhatsApp for fear of wiretapping.

On February 20, ‘Maurer’ and Guaido talked about the “crime monies” of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, supposedly held in Swiss banks. The ‘Swiss president’ promised to freeze the accounts, claiming that of late the banks observed transfers from them to Russian and Chinese banks.

The pranksters reassured Guaido that he would be able to “manage” the frozen Venezuelan government accounts “as head of state.” “Excellent,” Guaido replied. Apart from that, the duo talked about another way, suggesting to simply create a personal account for Guaido and transferring Venezuelan state funds there.

To take action, the ‘Swiss president’ asked Guaido to send an “official” request, sending him a draft of it. The draft included a list of Swiss banks, where the “crime monies” are supposedly held – and cheekily included ‘Lexus Vovanial Bank Ltd.’ – a fictitious bank, based on the duo’s nicknames.

While the prank was already a success, Guaido himself apparently added more hilarity to it, bragging to the press about getting in touch with the ‘Swiss president’ and stating that he was “doing everything possible to protect these assets that belong to the republic.” Switzerland, however, swiftly rebuked Guaido’s claims, stating – obviously – that “there was no telephone contact between Mr. Guaido and President Maurer.”

The official statement by the real Swiss government, however, did not stop the prankster duo, who then again contacted Abrams and ‘Ambassador’ Vecchio, complaining about Guaido not being able to keep the “talks” private.

Surprisingly, the veteran meddler Abrams took the bait, replying to their email.

“Yes – that was an error on his part. We will of course keep everything confidential,” a screengrab, purportedly showing a reply from Abrams to ‘Maurer’ reads. The US Special Representative for Venezuela promised to tell Guaido “gently” that openly speaking to the press about such sensitive matters “should not be repeated.”

A similar response was provided by Vecchio, who reassured the ‘Swiss president’ that they “already took action” and such a blunder “will not happen again.”

As the fallout of Guaido’s talkativeness was contained, the duo received English and Spanish versions of the “official document” from the ‘interim president’ – Lexus Vovanial Bank Ltd. included – screenshots provided by the pranksters show.

Read more:

‘Freeze all Venezuelan assets’ – US regime-change hawk tells pranksters posing as Swiss president

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Guaido’s True Colors: “President” to Fix Venezuelan Relations with Israel

By Jim Carey | Geopolitics Alert | February 13, 2019

Caracas – In an interview over the weekend, “interim President” of Venezuela Juan Guaido promised he would work on restoring relations with Israel.

Despite not actually having a government or being in any type of official position of power within Venezuela Juan Guaido is still somehow making big promises. Last week it was the promise to sell oil he doesn’t control to the US and this week he is setting foreign policy for a state, a military, and a diplomatic core that he doesn’t have.

Regardless of Juan Guaido’s material position, Israel has been more than willing to indulge in the US fantasy in Venezuela and was one of the early states to recognize the fraud as “interim President.” Now it seems Guaido is more than willing to repay the favor should he ever actually hold office.

Guaido made this promise in a recent interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper where he told the interviewer that he was “very happy to announce that the process of stabilizing relations with Israel is in full swing.” While what exactly that means when you’re a President with no power is rather ambiguous, for some reason Guaido has said restoring relations “is very important for us.”

Regardless of all these factors, there are still several reasons the new President has made this a high priority. Even without any actual diplomatic staff recognized by the state, Guaidó has still been in contact with Israel and has even discussed opening a new Venezuelan embassy in Israel, saying it “is one of the subjects we are talking about.”

Another reason Guaidó claims he wants to restore relations with the Zionists is due to the fact that there “are many Venezuelans in Israel and many Jews in Venezuela.”

According to Guaidó, this Venezuelan Jewish community “is very active and prosperous” and have expressed to the president their hopes for renewed relations with Israel.

Guaidó says this Jewish community has a friend in him and he wishes to ‘restore their rights’ and has “no doubt that the Jews are afraid.” Now Guaidó has promised to protect this Jewish community should he ever take power.

Relations between Israel and Venezuela were cut off in 2009 under Hugo Chavez, the previous Venezuelan President and mentor of Nicolás Maduro. Chavez knew well that Israel is very active in Latin America in helping the US subvert democracy and didn’t wish to allow the Zionists a base of operations in his country.

Obviously, the reasons cited by Hugo Chavez to justify throwing the Zionists out of Venezuela is perfectly legitimate but this has been a sore point with Washington and imperial media for some time. US media considers the fact that Chavez expelled the Zionists and supported Palestine as proof of the anti-semitism inside the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

This is all totally ridiculous of course and the Chavistas chose to expel the Israelis in solidarity with Palestine against imperialism. This shift in foreign policy was framed as dangerous and the distrust of Zionism is said to be responsible for the “flight” of Venezuelan Jews to Israel.

But just how big is this important Jewish community?

Before Chavez, the total Jewish population in Venezuela was only estimated at about 22,000 out of over 30 million. Since Chavez took power that population has dwindled down to around 7,000 meaning there are about 15,000 Venezuelan Jews in Israel.

Supposedly restoring the Venezuelan embassy in Israel is very important, just not to more than about 20-30,000 people. Many Venezuelans still oppose any type of outside intervention in their country and it likely wouldn’t matter if it was US or Israeli soldiers but Guaidó is clearly more beholden to his foreign backers than he is to his own people.

With all that said, Guaidó still hopes Israel will invest more in regime change in his country. “Many Western countries have already committed to sending humanitarian aid to Venezuela,” he said adding that he is “confident that Israel will also help us.”

Since Israel is basically a US proxy this likely means Guaidó would like aid from them in the form of firearms like the ones Washington recently tried to smuggle in. Chavez made the correct choice in throwing out the Zionists and their agents of subversion, meaning the best hope for Venezuela to remain independent is for the Chavistas to uphold this legacy of anti-imperialism.

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Juan Guaidó: The Man Who Would Be President of Venezuela Doesn’t Have a Constitutional Leg to Stand On

By Roger D. Harris | Dissident Voice | February 6, 2019

Donald Trump imagines Juan Guaidó is the rightful president of Venezuela. Mr. Guaidó, a man of impeccable illegitimacy, was exposed by Cohen and Blumenthal as “a product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers.” Argentinian sociologist Marco Teruggi described Guaidó in the same article as “a character that has been created for this circumstance” of regime change. Here, his constitutional credentials to be interim president of Venezuela are deconstructed.

Educated at George Washington University in DC, Guaidó was virtually unknown in his native Venezuela before being thrust on to the world stage in a rapidly unfolding series of events. In a poll conducted a little more than a week before Guaidó appointed himself president of the country, 81% of Venezuelans had never even heard of the 35-year-old.

To make a short story shorter, US Vice President Pence phoned Guaidó on the evening of January 22nd and presumably asked him how’d he like to be made president of Venezuela. The next day, Guaidó announced that he considered himself president of Venezuela, followed within minutes by US President Trump confirming the self-appointment.

A few weeks before on January 5, Guaidó had been installed as president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, their unicameral legislature. He had been elected to the assembly from a coastal district with 26% of the vote. It was his party’s turn for the presidency of the body, and he was hand-picked for the position. Guaidó, even within his own party, was not in the top leadership.

Guaidó’s party, Popular Will, is a far-right marginal group whose most enthusiastic boosters are John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, and Mike Pompeo. Popular Will had adopted a strategy of regime change by extra-parliamentary means rather than engage in the democratic electoral process and had not participated in recent Venezuelan elections.

Although anointed by Trump and company, Guaidó’s Popular Will Party is not representative of the “Venezuelan opposition,” which is a fractious bunch whose hatred of Maduro is only matched by their abhorrence of each other. Leading opposition candidate Henri Falcón, who ran against Maduro in 2018 on a neoliberal austerity platform, had been vehemently opposed by Popular Will who demanded that he join their US-backed boycott of the election.

The Venezuelan news outlet, Ultimas Noticias, reported that prominent opposition politician Henrique Capriles, who had run against Maduro in 2013, “affirmed during an interview that the majority of opposition parties did not agree with the self-swearing in of Juan Guaidó as interim president of the country.”  Claudio Fermin, president of the party Solutions for Venezuela, wrote “we believe in the vote, in dialogue, we believe in coming to an understanding, we believe Venezuelans need to part ways with the extremist sectors that only offer hatred, revenge, lynching.” Key opposition governor of the State of Táchira, Laidy Gómez, has rejected Guaidó’s support of intervention by the US, warning that it “would generate death of Venezuelans.”

The Guaidó/Trump cabal does not reflect the democratic consensus in Venezuela, where polls consistently show super majorities oppose outside intervention. Popular opinion in Venezuela supports negotiations between the government and the opposition as proposed by Mexico, Uruguay, and the Vatican. The Maduro administration has embraced the negotiations as a peaceful solution to the crisis facing Venezuela.

The US government rejects a negotiated solution, in the words of Vice President Pence: “This is no time for dialogue; this is time for action.” This intransigent position is faithfully echoed by Guaidó. So while most Venezuelans want peace, the self-appointed president, backed by the full force of US military power, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that it was possible to “end the Maduro regime with a minimum of bloodshed.”

The Guaidó/Trump cabal’s fig leaf for legitimacy is based on the bogus argument that Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution gives the National Assembly the power to declare a national president’s “abandonment” of the office. In which case, the president of the National Assembly can serve as an interim national president, until presidential elections are held. The inconvenient truth is that Maduro has shown no inclination to abandon his post, and the constitution says no such thing.

In fact, the grounds for replacing a president are very clearly laid out in the first paragraph of Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution and do not include fraudulent or illegitimate election, which is what the cabal has been claiming. In the convoluted logic of the US government and its epigones, if the people elect someone the cabal doesn’t like, the election is by definition fraudulent and the democratically elected winner is ipso facto a dictator.

The function of adjudicating the validity of an election, as in any country, is to be dealt with through court challenges, not by turning to Donald Trump for his approval. And certainly not by anointing an individual from a party that could have run in the 2018 election but decided to boycott.

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), which is the separate supreme court branch of the Venezuelan government has certified Maduro’s reelection, as have independent international observers. Further, no appeal was filed by any of the boycotting parties, while all participating parties – including opposition ones – signed off on the validity of the election after the polls closed.

The far-right opposition has boycotted the high court as well as the electoral process. They contest the legitimacy of the TSJ because some members of the TSJ were appointed by a lame duck National Assembly favorable to Maduro, after a new National Assembly with a majority in opposition had been elected in December 2015 but not yet seated.

Even if President Maduro were somehow deemed to have experienced what is termed a falta absoluta (i.e., some sort of void in the presidency due to death, insanity, absence, etc.), the National Assembly president is only authorized to take over if the falta absoluta occurs before the lawful president “takes possession.” However, Maduro was already “in possession” before the January 10, 2019 presidential inauguration and even before the May 10, 2018 presidential election. Maduro had won the presidency in the 2013 election and ran and won reelection last May.

If the falta absoluta is deemed to have occurred during the first four years of the presidential term, the vice president takes over. Then the constitution decrees that a snap election for the presidency must be held within 30 days. This is what happened when President Hugo Chávez died while in office in 2013. Then Vice President Nicolás Maduro succeeded to the presidency, called for new elections, and was elected by the people of Venezuela.

If it is deemed that the falta absoluta occurred during the last two years of the six-year presidential term, the vice president serves until the end of the term, according to the Venezuelan constitution. And if the time of the alleged falta absoluta is unclear – when Maduro presided over “illegitimate” elections in 2018, as is claimed by the far-right opposition – it is up to the TSJ to decide, not the head of the National Assembly or even such an august authority as US Senator Marco Rubio. Or the craven US press (too numerous to cite), which without bothering to read the plain language of the Bolivarian Constitution, repeatedly refers to Guaidó as the “constitutionally authorized” or “legitimate” president.

As Alfred de Zayas, United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, tweeted: “Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution is inapplicable and cannot be twisted into legitimizing Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President. A coup is a coup.”

Roger D. Harris is with the Task Force on the Americas and the Campaign to End US/Canada Sanctions Against Venezuela.

February 7, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

Guaido Says All Opportunities for Dialogue With Maduro Government Exhausted

Sputnik – 04.02.2019

All opportunities for dialogue with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have been exhausted, Venezuelan opposition parliament speaker Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself the country’s interim president, said on Monday, after declining Mexico and Uruguay’s offer to mediate a dialogue with Maduro.

“As for the initiative of Mexico and Uruguay, I must be sincere by telling you that all of Venezuela’s democratic forces believe that the opportunities for dialogue with Maduro government have been exhausted… The [Maduro] regime has rejected any chance to reach a political agreement within the framework of our constitution,” Guaido told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

On January 31, the European Union and a number of Latin American countries decided to set up an international contact group “to create conditions for a political and peaceful process to emerge” in Venezuela.

China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and Uruguay are among the countries that have voiced their support for Maduro.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in the day that the European Union was giving an ultimatum to Caracas rather than mediating the Venezuelan crisis, and called for settlement talks that would include all relevant parties.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said last month that Beijing was against any meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs and supportive of the country’s government in its efforts to maintain stability.

February 4, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

The Failure of Guaido’s Constitutional Claim to the Presidency of Venezuela

By William Walter Kay | Global Research | January 29, 2019

The three constitutional articles invoked by Juan Guaido to legitimise his presidency are: 233, 333, and 350. The latter two are broad affirmations of democracy and constitutionality, silent on Presidential lines of succession. Guaido’s claim rests entirely on 233; presented here in full:

The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.

When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

When the President of the Republic becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the first four years of this constitutional term of office, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the Executive Vice-President shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

In the cases describes above, the new President shall complete the constitutional term of office.

If the President becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the last two years of his constitutional term of office, the Executive Vice-President shall over the Presidency of the Republic until such term is completed.

The opening paragraph envisions six scenarios whereby a President might no longer serve. The next paragraph sets out protocols to be followed should a President-elect become unavailable to serve pre-inauguration. The third paragraph contemplates presidential vacancies during the first four years of office. The last paragraph deals with presidential vacancies in the final two years of office.

Of the six scenarios envisioned (death, resignation etc.) Guaido relies on “abandonment of his position.” This clearly never happened. Maduro isn’t gone. He’s still there. “Abandonment” conjures images of a President fleeing on a plane freighted with bullion. Maduro, however, currently occupies presidential offices and residences. There has been no abandonment.

“Abandonment” is spun to mean “usurpation.” When did this occur? Are they suggesting that at no time since April 19, 2013 has Maduro ever been President? If Maduro was President, then he must have farcically usurped himself. “Usurp” typically means take power away from someone. There has been no usurpation.

If a President becomes unavailable to serve in the first four years of his term, then the Vice-President takes over and calls an election. If the calamity occurs in the last two years of the presidential term then the VP serves out the fallen President’s term.

Guaido, as head of the National Assembly, only becomes involved when the vacancy occurs in the twilight zone between election and inauguration. This definitely did not happen here. Moreover, by citing Article 233 Guaido implies there was a recent (lawful) election. Finally, Guaido’s January 23 self-anointment occurred 13 days after Maduro’s January 10 inauguration. He missed the boat.

Pursuant to 233, if the head of the National Assembly becomes Acting President he must immediately call an election; and serve only until the winner of that election is inaugurated. The Western media (and Wiki) butcher 233’s second paragraph, leaving only opening and closing clauses; discarding any mention of “election.” Guaido should have, at the moment of self-anointment, announced an election for February 22. For the head of the National Assembly to assume Presidential powers, and then fail to call an election so as to keep those powers, would be flagrantly unconstitutional.

This thread becomes rejoicefully rich considering the EU’s position. They are demanding Maduro call an election; …or else they will recognise Guaido. Can Maduro call an election if he is not President? By demanding Maduro hold an election they are recognising Maduro as President. If Maduro is President he has no obligation to call snap elections to satisfy foreign governments. Alternatively, if Guaido became President he would have an explicit, unavoidable constitutional obligation to call an immediate election.

Guaido is the figure-head of a coup attempt orchestrated by foreign powers without a constitutional leg to stand on.

January 29, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment