Venezuelan Socialist Lawmaker Calls for More Panama Papers Revelations

Venezuelan socialist congressman Diosado Cabello has urged journalists to release further names of those involved in the ground-breaking global corruption scandal known as the “Panama Papers”, accusing the country’s right-wing opposition of illicit dealings.

By Lucas Koerner
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PSUV legislator Diosdado Cabello. (AN)
PSUV legislator Diosdado Cabello. (AN)

Caracas, April 7, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan socialist congressman Diosado Cabello has urged journalists to release further names of those involved in the ground-breaking global corruption scandal known as the “Panama Papers”, accusing the country’s right-wing opposition of illicit dealings. 

“It would be great if all the names came out. I’ve said many times that there are right-wing legislators with companies all over,” asserted the socialist lawmaker and current vice-president of Venezuela’s ruling United Socialist Party. 

The scandal surfaced this week when a trove of 11.5 million documents from the Panama-based international law firm Mossack Fonseca was leaked to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, which subsequently shared them with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Guardian, the BBC, and other media outlets.

As the largest single leak in history, the documents detail how wealthy individuals from around the world hid their assets in 214,000 offshore companies in 21 tax havens.

Among those implicated in the scandal are 140 politicians from 50 countries, including Argentine President Mauricio Macri, the King of Saudi Arabia, the president of Ukraine, as well as the prime ministers of the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and Iceland.

Venezuela has reportedly been mentioned in 241,000 documents, but so far the only implicated individual with any links to the Bolivarian government is the former chief of security at Miraflores presidential palace, Andre Jose Velasquez Figueroa.

Velasquez resides in the Dominican Republic with his wife, Claudia Diaz Guillen, who was former head of the National Treasury Office and allegedly a one-time nurse to former president Hugo Chávez. They together own property worth USD$400 and hold $1.6 million in “personal assets”.

There is, however, no evidence of any current links between Velasquez and the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Cabello, for his part, suggested that forthcoming revelations contained in the documents will incriminate Venezuela’s US-backed opposition, claiming that “for every person close to Chavismo who appears, there will be 300 opposition members”.  

According to the ex-National Assembly President, those close to the government implicated in the scandal can no longer call themselves chavista.

“If you are a chavista, you cannot be corrupt. I’m talking about those who claim to be chavistas,” he stated. 

So far, no current government officials have been implicated in the scandal nor have any officials under the Chávez administration, with the exception of Victor Cruz Weffer, former commander-in-chief of Venzuela’s armed forces from June 2001 until his dismissal in December 2001 on graft allegations, and Jesus Villanueva, former PDVSA director from 2005 to 2008.