El Progreso, December 15, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Gustavo Díaz of Venezuelan currency website “Dólar Today” declared his admiration and support for opposition leadership on the Miami-based television program “Agárrate” with Venezuelan Patricia Poleo this week.
Díaz is a retired military official and served as security chief for Pedro Carmona Estanga who swore himself into the Venezuelan presidency after orchestrating a coup d’état against former President Hugo Chávez in April 2002.
“We were the first ones to call [the Bolivarian government] ‘dictatorship’, ‘totalitarian’, ‘tyranny’, ‘Chávez is a tyrant,” he said, explaining the hard right-wing orientation of the website.
Dólar Today tracks the black market exchange rate between the US dollar and South American bolivar based on the dubious rates set by Colombian currency traders in Cúcuta.
Caracas has denounced Dólar Today’s allegedly outsized role in what it has called an “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country. The website, it says, has influenced the bolivar’s devaluation and manipulated the exchange rate by evading government currency controls.
Díaz expressed praise for well-known opposition leaders such as Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, and Maria Corina Machado, among others.
“What greater example of heroism is Leopoldo López and all of the boys who are with him, [Daniel] Ceballos, [Antonio] Ledezma…María Corina Machado,” he stated in the interview.
The three are notorious for their ties to the US Embassy and for allegedly instigating violence against supporters of the Bolivarian government.
Ledezma, former mayor of Caracas, was arrested by authorities in February 2015 in connection to the 2014 guarimba protest violence and the failed “Blue Coup” attempt against President Nicolás Maduro’s government. Ledezma is currently under house arrest.
López, for his part, was the public face of the violent 2014 anti-government protests known as “The Exit”, which left 43 dead, the majority of whom security personnel, government supporters, and passerby. He was sentenced to a 13 year prison sentence in September 2015.
Díaz resides in Alabama, United States after seeking asylum in 2005. The other two founders of Dólar Today live in Seattle and Miami according to Díaz’s interview. Dólar Today has faced two lawsuits filed by the Bolivarian government for “cyberterrorism” due to their alleged destabilization efforts.