Monday, July 22, 2019 | ePaper

Venezuela's former spy chief says Maduro could yet fall

  • Print


Venezuela is caught in an economic crisis and a political standoff between Maduro and Guaido.

AFP :
Venezuela's former intelligence chief, Cristopher Figuera, who fled the country after backing a failed uprising against President Nicolas Maduro in April, has told the Washington Post the regime could still fall.
"I'm proud of what I did," he said in an interview published online late Monday. "For now, the regime has gotten ahead of us. But that can quickly change."
The highest-profile defector against the Maduro regime, Figuera was sacked after supporting the April 30 uprising by opposition leader Juan Guaido and spent two months in hiding in Colombia before his arrival in the United States on Monday, according to the Post.
Venezuela is caught in an economic crisis and a political standoff between Maduro and Guaido, who declared himself interim president earlier this year, securing recognition from the US and more than 50 other countries.
Maduro, re-elected last year in elections widely seen as rigged, has so far retained the support of the powerful military.
The former head of security for late president Hugo Chavez, Figuera told the newspaper that members of Maduro's family and his government were engaged in money laundering and corruption, and alleged that Hezbollah cells were allowed to operate in Venezuela and raise funds.
An Iran-backed Shiite movement, Hezbollah is listed as a "terrorist group" by the United States.
"I quickly realized that Maduro is the head of a criminal enterprise, with his own family involved," he said, accusing the president's son, Nicolas Maduro Guerra, of running an illicit scheme involving the sale of gold at high prices to Venezuela's central bank.
He also claimed that Cuba exerted a strong influence on Maduro, describing frequent phone calls between former president Raul Castro and the Venezuelan leader.
"Raul Castro was like an adviser for Maduro," Figuera said. "If he was in any meeting, it would be interrupted if Castro was on the phone."
The newspaper said it could not independently confirm the allegations, which emerged the same day as an announcement by another high-profile Maduro critic that he was released from house arrest.
Former Venezuelan police officer Ivan Simonovis, who was serving a 30-year sentence for his role in a failed 2002 coup against late President Hugo Chavez, confirmed his whereabouts for the first time since a "pardon" issued by Guaido in his capacity of interim president.
"I'M FREE!" the Caracas police commissioner wrote on Twitter, posting photos of himself in Washington at a monument to South American liberator Simon Bolivar.
"I am on the streets thanks to the efforts of many people, but especially those of active officials who are not at the service of tyranny, they are on the right side: that of Freedom and Democracy for Venezuela."
The opposition and human rights groups regarded Simonovis as a political prisoner, a claim denied by Maduro's government.

More News For this Category

Abe on course to retain majority in upper house election

Abe on course to retain majority in upper house election

AFP, Tokyo :Japanese voters cast ballots Sunday in an upper house election, with Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc looking to protect its majority and keep on track plans to amend the

Johnson is almost certain to become Britain's next PM

Johnson is almost certain to become Britain's next PM

Supporters of Boris Johnson, who looks certain to become the next British prime minister, hail his optimistic vision for post-Brexit Britain, but insist he will have a team to take

Houston celebrates exact moment Neil Armstrong set foot on Moon

Houston celebrates exact moment Neil Armstrong set foot on Moon

AFP, Houston :Houston's Space Center counted down Saturday night to the exact moment 50 years ago that Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon, marking

Over 20,000 rally in Moscow as election anger boils over

Over 20,000 rally in Moscow as election anger boils over

AFP, Moscow :More than 22,000 people packed a Moscow square Saturday to demand free and fair local polls, incensed by the authorities' refusal to put popular opposition candidates on the

Hong Kong on security alert as thousands march in fresh wave of protests

Hong Kong on security alert as thousands march in fresh wave of protests

Reuters, Hong Kong: Tens of thousands marched in sweltering heat in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong on Sunday as anti-government protests show no signs of let-up, with anger over an extradition bill

News In Brief

More than 1,000 firefighters battle Portugal wildfiresAFP, AmendoaMore than a thousand firefighters battled Sunday to control wildfires in central Portugal that have forced village evacuations, in a region where dozens

Thousands rally in support of Hong Kong police

Thousands rally in support of Hong Kong police

AP, Hong Kong :Tens of thousands of people rallied in support of Hong Kong's police and pro-Beijing leadership on Saturday, a vivid illustration of the polarisation coursing through the city

Mueller probe witness now faces child sex trafficking charge

AP, Alexandria :A businessman who served as a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation now faces a charge of child sex trafficking in addition to transporting child pornography.An

US offers $7m to find Hezbollah agent as Pompeo visits Argentina

US offers $7m to find Hezbollah agent as Pompeo visits Argentina

AFP, Buenos Aires :The United States on Friday offered a $7 million reward to find a Hezbollah operative accused of masterminding a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish center in

Pentagon intelligence chief says Iran does not want war

Pentagon intelligence chief says Iran does not want war

AP, Aspen :As tensions in the Persian Gulf continued to ramp up on Friday afternoon amid news that Iran had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz,