Four na­tion agree to com­bat Caracas graft

Gulf Times - - LATIN AMERICA -

Colom­bia’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mauri­cio Car­de­nas hosted a meet­ing with of­fi­cials from Mex­ico, Panama, and the US to share in­for­ma­tion on Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials sus­pected of cor­rup­tion and their sup­port net­works.

Dur­ing a meet­ing in the coastal city of Cartagena, the four na­tions agreed to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion to fight il­le­gal fi­nan­cial net­works in cri­sis-wracked Venezuela, ac­cord­ing to the coun­tries’ joint state­ment re­leased by UIAF, Colom­bia’s gov­ern­ment body that looks into sus­pi­cious money move­ments and sends them for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Opec na­tion has al­ready been hit with eco­nomic sanc­tions by Canada, the US and a num­ber of other coun­tries over is­sues rang­ing from hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions to cor­rup­tion and drug traf­fick­ing.

The rule of Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro, who took of­fice in 2013, has co­in­cided with a deep re­ces­sion caused in part by a plunge in global oil prices and failed state-led eco­nomic poli­cies.

“Par­tic­i­pants recog­nised the im­por­tance of in­ter­na­tional co­or­di­na­tion to com­bat il­licit fi­nance net­works that sup­port Pres­i­dent Maduro’s re­pres­sive regime,” the UIAF state­ment said.

Maduro, who won re-elec­tion on May 20 in a vote the main op­po­si­tion coali­tion boy­cotted, says Venezuela is a vic­tim of an “eco­nomic war” led by his ad­ver­saries with Wash­ing­ton’s help.

He says sanc­tions are part of ef­forts by for­eign coun­tries to un­der­mine his gov­ern­ment.

The UIAF state­ment also ac­cused Venezuela of us­ing food and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid as a weapon for so­cial con­trol and said there was “large-scale theft” of funds from the Venezue­lan food aid pro­gramme (CLAP).

Venezue­lan army of­fi­cials and oth­ers tasked with dis­tribut­ing food amid wide­spread short­ages have long been sus­pected of steal­ing or mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing gov­ern­men­tre­lated funds, of­ten with the help of busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als based out­side of the coun­try.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.