The President of the United States, Donald Trump, reminded world leaders of the importance of the struggle, for the reestablishment of democracy and freedom in Venezuela, during his intervention at the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations.
“We stand with the people of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in their just struggle for freedom,” the U.S. president said during his online address.
The Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, expressed his gratitude to President Trump for remembering in UN’s 75th General Assembly the “just cause of the people of Venezuela for the reestablishment of democracy and freedom”. He affirmed that the United States has been a key ally in this fight against Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship that violates human rights and is narco-terrorist regime”.
New US sanctions against scorpions
Minutes after President Trump’s speech at UNGA75, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced new sanctions “against five key figures who have facilitated the efforts of Maduro’s illegitimate regime to undermine democracy in Venezuela. These individuals, including Maduro-supporting members of the Venezuelan National Assembly (National Assembly or NA), have acted as part of a broader scheme to manipulate the December 2020 parliamentary elections by placing control of Venezuelan opposition parties in the hands of politicians affiliated with Nicolas Maduro’sfZ regime, undermining any credible opposition challenge to that regime,” quoted a Treasury statement.
Ambassador Carlos Vecchio highlighted the new action by the US Treasury as something positive recalling that “the traitors Guillermo Luces, Miguel Ponente Parra, Bernabé Gutiérrez, Chaim Bucaran, José Benavidez, sold out to the regime in Operation Scorpion to kidnap the VP, PJ, AD and UNT parties among others, and try to validate Maduro’s electoral farce”.
Those sanctioned by the OFAC are:
1. Miguel Antonio José Ponente Parra (Speaker), ad hoc general secretary of the TSJ of the Primero Justicia (PJ) party opposed to Maduro, under the presidency of the ad hoc party José Dionisio Brito Rodríguez (Brito). Ponente is the national political delegate of the PJ and chief of staff of Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero (Parra), the self-proclaimed president of a fraudulent instance of the National Assembly led by Maduro. Today, Ponente was appointed pursuant to O.S. 13692, as amended, for being a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela.
2. Guillermo Antonio Luces Osorio (Luces), ad hoc Secretary General of the TSJ of the party opposing Maduro Voluntad Popular (VP), under the President of the ad hoc party José Gregorio Noriega Figueroa (Noriega). Luces is also a substitute deputy in the NA for the Democratic Unity Table (MUD). Luces was vice president until he was expelled from the party in December 2019 for his alleged participation in Operation Scorpion (Operation Scorpion), a vote-buying scheme led by Maduro and his cronies, including U.S.-appointed David de Lima. Today, Luces was designated pursuant to O.S. 13692, as amended, as a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela. (See background below for additional details regarding Operation Scorpion.)
3. José Bernabé Gutiérrez Parra (José Bernabé Gutiérrez), President of the TSJ ad hoc party of the opposition party Acción Democrática (AD). José Bernabé Gutiérrez was expelled from AD in June 2020 for conspiring with the Maduro regime to force AD to join a false opposition led by the regime and to force AD’s participation in fraudulent elections illegitimately called by the NEC. His re-election to AD’s leadership by the TSJ was a “package deal”, together with the appointment of his brother José Luis Gutiérrez Parra (José Luis Gutiérrez), sanctioned by the US, to the NEC. José Bernabé Gutiérrez and José Luis Gutiérrez were allegedly rewarded for accepting these positions and exercising them in the interest of Maduro’s illegitimate regime. Upon his appointment as AD’s president, José Bernabé Gutiérrez confirmed that AD would participate in the December 6th parliamentary elections, in contravention of the party’s opposition to the TSJ ruling. Today, José Bernabé Gutiérrez was appointed pursuant to O.S. 13692, as amended, for being responsible or complicit or responsible for ordering, controlling or otherwise directing, or having participated, directly or indirectly, in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in or relating to Venezuela.
4. Chaim José Bucaran Paraguan (Bucaran), who together with Adolfo Ramón Superlano (Superlano), requested the TSJ in June 2020 to challenge the leadership of the fourth largest opposition party to Maduro, Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT), and to grant the leadership of UNT to themselves. Their goal is to install an ad hoc UNT Board of Directors that will allow the party to participate in the December 6th parliamentary elections, which are opposed by the current UNT leadership. Bucaran was a UNT deputy in the NA until he was expelled from the party in January 2020 for participating in an effort by Maduro’s regime to elect a pro-regime deputy as the NA’s spokesperson by physically preventing many opposition deputies from voting. Today, Bucaran was appointed pursuant to O.S. 13692, as amended, for being a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela.
5. Williams José Benavides Rondón (Benavides), ad hoc President of Tupamaro. Benavides is alternate representative in the NA for the PSUV. After being appointed President of Tupamaro, Benavides tweeted his support for Maduro from Tupamaro’s official Twitter account; he also confirmed that Tupamaro will participate in the December 6th parliamentary elections. Today, Benavides was appointed pursuant to O.S. 13692, as amended, for being a current or former official of the Venezuelan Government.
US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin stressed that “the United States remains committed to holding Maduro’s regime and its supporters accountable for their flagrant corruption to ensure that the Venezuelan people get the free and fair elections they deserve.”