Guaido faces probe over links to Colombian paramilitary


A chief Venezuelan prosecutor announced an investigation launched against the opposition leader Juan Guaido over photos showing him with the leader of a criminal Colombian paramilitary.

Speaking at Venezuela’s state television on Thursday, Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the new images showing Guaido with Jonathan Orlando Zambrano Garcia — the leader of Los Rastrojos, a paramilitary group at the border dealing drug, — will be included in the probe.

Saab stressed that Guaido crossed the border with help of the criminal gang on Feb. 22, when he led a failed attempt to let humanitarian aid in Venezuela.

The two new photos surfaced by National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello on Wednesday in his TV program showed Guaido and Zambrano together, while other featured a drug trafficker in the driver’s seat of a car which the opposition leader was in.

The investigation will probe Guaido’s alleged link to the criminal group after the government revealed new photos.

Last week a Colombian non-governmental human rights organization, Wilfredo Canizares, shared on Twitter two photos of Guaido, posing with the second in command of Los Rastrojos and a member of the group separately.

The NGO asserted that the opposition leader’s entrance to Colombia “was coordinated” with the paramilitary group.

However, the Colombian government said that it helped the Venezuelan opposition leader to cross the border.

Relatedly, Caracas-based TV channel TeleSur reporter Camila Escalante tweeted Monday that “Colombian narco-paramilitaries tried to kill [group member] Ivan Posso on their crusade to eliminate witnesses” of Guaido’s entry into Colombia.

While Posso managed to flee, four members of his family were killed, according to the reporter.

Former President of Colombia Ernesto Samper Pizano was outraged commenting on the subject.

“The fact that Guaido could appear in a casual photo in the Catatumbo jungle, accompanied by recognized paramilitaries who are currently imprisoned, would be cause for a scandal and outrage in any other country except Colombia. What is happening to us?” Samper said on Twitter.

Venezuela’s opposition leader is facing a probe second time in a month, after an investigation was launched early September against him for allegedly plotting with foreign powers against the country’s interests.

Since the beginning of the year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as President Nicolas Maduro and Guaido engaged in a power battle, while country’s economy has been in precipitous decline following a global downturn in the price of crude oil — the country’s main export.
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