The former Prosecutor General of Venezuela, has revealed that she has evidence of President Nicolas Maduro’s corruption.
Luisa Ortega Díaz was recently ousted by the country’s powerful constituent assembly.
Despite having world's largest proven oil deposits, many Venezuelans have lived in abject poverty. The former President, Hugo Chavez, was in office from 1999 to 2013. In that period, billions of dollars were spent in generous social programs. After his death, his successor, Nicolas Maduro took office. There has been a rise in inflation and a shortage of basic goods. A drop in oil prices had added to the administration’s problems.
From 2014, there have been recurrent protests against the government because of many of these issues. Detractors blame the current economic policies for the crisis. People are also disillusioned by the high level of urban violence prevalent in the nation.
The protests have increased from 2017. There have been calls for fresh elections to remove United Socialist Party (PSUV) from power. Nicolás Maduro has instituted a new body called the constituent assembly. Comprised of 545 members, it has the power to draft a new constitution.
The Venezuelan government has been accused of having tampered the votes during the elections for the constituent assembly. A number of countries including the US and Colombia have announced that they won’t recognize the elections.
December 2007 and August 2017, Luisa Ortega Díaz served as the Prosecutor General of Venezuela. On August, 2017, she was ousted from her job by the new constituent assembly. Maduro, meanwhile, has announced that he will be seeking an international warrant for Diaz and her husband. He claims that the duo is guilty of multiple serious crimes. Diaz used to be a key ally for Maduro, however, in the recent times had become critical of the President and the Venezuelan government.
After her ouster, she fled to Colombia and the nation’s President Juan Manuel Santos has promised asylum if she seeks it. However, she left Colombia on boat and is currently in Brazil. According to Colombian media, she and her husband are seeking asylum in the US. She has said that her life is under threat.
The former Prosecutor General now claims that she has proof of Maduro’s corruption. She said, “I want to denounce, in front of the world, a grave situation in Venezuela: that of excessive corruption. Because of that reason, (Maduro's administration) is violating the constitution and law to protect itself. It's impossible for cases to be investigated in Venezuela."
Diaz says that she has evidence regarding that Cabello (senior leader of the Socialist Party) received around $100 million from the Brazilian company. She has urged the international community to “investigate such cases.” She has vowed to hand over the evidence to authorities from the United States, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.
Our assessment is that Venezuela is descending into deeper political and financial crises exacerbate by a fall in world prices in oil exports which has left it short of dollars for vital imports. Maduro is following the trail of other populist leaders who would prefer to cling on to power by hijacking state institutions amid shortages of food and medicine. We feel that the situation in Venezuela will turn for the worse in the immediate future and would not rule out soft interventions by neighboring Colombia and Brazil.