Juan Guaido has been left reeling over the last 48 hours after a pair of images surfaced online showing him posing with two Colombian criminals who helped him cross the border on February 22 of this year. In the images, Guaido appears standing beside two men known as El Brother and Menor who lead a gang called “Los Rastrojos” who, aside from smuggling drugs through the border, also move people.
According to Wifredo Canizares, the Colombian journalist who revealed the images, Los Rastrojos forced residents of the area through which Guaido entered Colombia that day to remain inside their homes while the inertion took place. Once in Colombia, Guaido was met by official authorities, Canizares claims.
Below, the two images:
Guaido’s highly-publicized appearance in Colombia on February 22 was the subject of much speculation, given the fact that he was at that time under a judicial order banning him from exiting the country. At the time, many commentators assumed that he had been let through the border by a sympathetic Venezuelan border crossing post, or that he had simply snuck across the border. The pictures with Los Rastrojos are evidence hat the latter theory was correct.
Guaido Acknowledges Picture, Claims He Did Not Know Who Men Were
Guaido reacted to the Los Rastrojos story today by acknowledging that he took the pictures with the men on February, but that he did not know who they were. He said:
[I took] hundreds of pictures that day when we arrived [in Cucuta] for the [Venezuela Live] concert. Thousands. It’s hard to discriminate when someone asks you for a picture.
Guaido also suggested that the Maduro regime had leaked the images to the media, but offered to evidence to back up his claim.
Let’s see: the regime does what it’s going to do, which is distract from the main issue [which is that] the regime offers safe-haven to drug traffickers, paramilitaries, and terrorists. Fine, they’re distracting from that. But the question is: How did they get that picture?
Regime Latches Onto Images, Opens Investigation Into Guaido’s Alleged Links to Los Rastrojos
Attorney general Tarek William Saab announced today that federal prosecutors would open an investigation into Guaido stemming from the Los Rastrojos images, claiming that the men pictured with Guaido are “drug traffickers [who] work with the Sinaloa Cartel”.
Saab said that the men known as El Brother is called Alberto Lobo Quintero, while Menor‘s real name is John Jairo Duran.
The images of Guaido with Los Rastrojos confirm the hypothesis that [Guaido] and his team have links to these criminal groups.
While it is not clear exactly which hypothesis Saab was referring to, the Maduro regime has maintained for years that the Venezuelan opposition has links not only to criminal organizations inside and outside Venezuela, but also to terrorist organizations, foreign governments and their respective intelligence services, and groups of Venezuelan dissidents living abroad. The regime has never clearly demonstrated any of these alleged connections, and instead insists that they exist as a way to disqualify the opposition and its members.
Note: Due to a hectic travel schedule yesterday, I was unable to write a daily update.
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