Former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz released her first formal statement since fleeing Venezuela on August 19 following mounting persecution from the Maduro regime as a result of her public break from the ruling PSUV party. Ortega Diaz–who is under the protection of Colombian authorities alongside her husband, German Ferrer–issued a text statement in which she said that she would present evidence of regime corruption at a meeting in Brazil tomorrow.
In the statement, Ortega Diaz said that she would reveal evidence tomorrow at a Mercosur meeting of “grave corruption” involving the Maduro regime. The statement follows allegations made by Ortega Diaz on Saturday that Maduro was personally involved in the Odebrecht corruptions scandal.
As attorney general of Venezuela, I will take part in the Mercosur Meeting of Attorney Generals and Procurators which will take place in Brazil on Wednesday.
There, I will ratify before the world by accusations about the break in the constitutional order in my country, Venezuela, [as well as] the installation of a dictatorship under the auspices of a fraudulent and unconstitutional Constituent Assembly.
Today, Venezuelans are persecuted [and] jailed for thinking differently from the regime of dictator Nicolas Maduro and the corrupt elite who surround him.
This event will allow me to show the world the evidence that incriminates Nicolas Maduro and those around him of grave acts of corruption.
I stress to all Venezuelans my promise to achieve peace in Venezuela and a return to the liberties that are being violated today by the dictatorship.
I ask you all to not abandon Venezuela.
Ortega Diaz left Colombia earlier today on her way to Brazil, with a layover in Panama. As she left Bogota this morning, some Colombian press outlets speculated that Ortega Diaz was on her way to the United States to seek asylum, but the claim turned out to be incorrect.
Colombian Official Hints At Ortega Diaz’s Corruption Evidence
Fernando Carrillo, the attorney general of Colombia, held a press conference today in which he provided details on the evidence that Ortega Diaz is likely to present at tomorrow’s Mercosur meeting. Carrillo told reporters that Ortega Diaz has in her possession hard evidence linking regime officials to the Odebrecht corruption scandal.
She has evidence–documents, invoices and fundamental [documents]–to uncover corruption related to Odebrecht in Venezuela.
Speaking on the nature of the evidence, Carrillo appeared hopeful that it could lead to concrete results, since he believes that “dictatorships fall when corruption becomes evident“. Carrillo then reminded journalists that the dictatorships of Augusto Pinochet and Alberto Fujimori both fell when the two were caught red-handed in acts of corruption.
Maduro Lashes Out at Ortega Diaz Over Betrayal, Insults Colombia and Brazil
During a televised speech that aired this afternoon, Maduro lashed out against Ortega Diaz and the governments of Brazil and Colombia over their support for the former attorney general’s flight. During the speech, Maduro announced that he had asked Interpol to arrest Ortega Diaz and her husband, calling them “criminals”.
Show me who you’re with, and I’ll tell you who you are. You’re with the oligarchs in Colombia, Luisa Marveila [Marvelia is Ortega Diaz’s middle name]. You’re with the coupists in Brazil, Luisa Marvelia. Show me who you’re with, because you chose to hide yourself behind a chavista and left-wing mask, and it’s been a while since the attorney general started to work with the United States to harm Venezuela.
At the same time, Maduro appeared to lament the “betrayal” that he felt when Ortega Diaz began to speak out against his regime in late March. Maduro said:
I never could have imagined such a big betrayal.
Speaking specifically on the fact that Ortega Diaz will be in Brazil tomorrow, Maduro said:
The coupist government in Brazil is giving refuge to these fugitives from Venezuelan justice, the former attorney general and her husband, the head of the Public Ministry cartel. If only they knew what they found in the mansions that this woman had in Venezuela! The treasures that they found inside, they’re an incredible thing.
It is not clear to which mansions or treasure Maduro was referring.
Maduro Promises Elections in 2018 “Even If Trump Invades”
Maduro spoke on a wide range of topics during a televised address today that lasted most of the afternoon, including the presidential elections that are scheduled to take place in 2018. The president attempted to ease fears that his authoritarian streak meant that the elections are likely to be cancelled by saying:
Even if Trump personally heads an invasion of Venezuela, there will be presidential elections in 2018. Even if Trump shows up dressed like a marine. No one can stop the presidential elections of 2018, not even a general strike by the opposition.
At another point in his speech, Maduro attempted to make a distinction between the people of the United States and their leadership, and said that Venezuela enjoyed good relations with the former but not the latter. Maduro explained:
If we’re talking about the people, we’re living the best moment for relations with the United States. Now, unfortunately, we’re in the worst moment for relations with the government of the United States. I say unfortunately because my proposal–which is based on the dialogue of civilizations–it’s been President Donald Trump [sic]. Let’s have respectful relations, President Donald Trump. Let’s regulate, normalize relations and establish a fruitful dialogue…
Maduro Speaks on “Global Defamation” Against Venezuela
During the same address, Maduro took a conspiratorial turn and said that Venezuela was the target of “a global campaign of lies and defamation” with the goal of overthrowing his government and bringing an end to the Bolivarian revolution.
They [the country’s global enemies] took the topic of Venezuela and turned it into a global topic. The goal of the imperialist elites is to militarily occupy Venezuela and to submit Venezuela to the designs of their transnational [organizations] and of their factors of power [sic].
Bemoaning the fact that his regime is growing increasingly isolated over its hard turn towards authoritarianism, Maduro said:
Countries throw criticism saying that Maduro makes mistakes and that it’s all Maduro fault. Well, that’s fine, I accept the blame, but one thing I will never be guilty of is betraying the fatherland. We are here on our feet, [and] we have not given the fatherland over to the oligarchy.
Maduro also suggested that his regime was locked in a struggle with its global enemies over truth, saying:
Either the imperialist threats win or Venezuela wins. Either interventionism wins or sovereignty wins. This is the battle for truth.
Maduro’s speech was shown on television with a time delay.When regime officials noticed that Reuters journalists who had been invited to the conference were broadcasting Maduro’s comments live, they were forced out of the room.
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