Venezuelan prosecutors said Friday they would charge opposition leader Juan Guaido with “high treason” for planning to renounce the country’s claim to a disputed border area controlled by Guyana.
Guaido, the National Assembly speaker who is recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, is being investigated for negotiating to renounce “the historical claim our country has on the territory of Esequibo,” Attorney General Tarek William Saab told reporters.
State prosecutors successfully petitioned the country’s all-powerful Constituent Assembly to lift Guaido’s parliamentary immunity in April. He already faces several other charges, including one of “usurping the functions of the president”.
Guaido has remained free, however, and continues to rally support against President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido’s main international sponsor, the United States, has warned Venezuelan authorities against any attempt to arrest him.
Maduro appeared on television on Thursday to call on prosecutors to file treason charges on Guaido for allegedly plotting to hand over Esequibo to multinational companies.
The case is based on audio recordings purported to involve a US administration official urging an advisor to Guaido to “deliver the Esequibo” to Exxon Mobil and other multinationals, according to the Maduro government.
The resource-rich 61,600 square mile (159,000 square kilometer) territory is the subject of a longstanding border dispute, exacerbated in 2015 by a “significant” oil discovery announced by Exxon Mobil. The oil company’s exploration deal with Guyana angered Venezuela, which reasserted its territorial claim.
“We have initiated an investigation,” Saab said in a televised press conference, of Guaido’s involvement “in an illegal negotiation behind the country’s back that intends to withdraw the historical claim our country has on the territory of Esequibo.”
“The facts imply a crime of treason,” he said.
It is Latin America’s biggest remaining territorial dispute. If Venezuela’s claim were to win out, Guyana — the former British Guiana — would lose more than half its territory.
Ex-Devin Nunes aide sues publication that exposed his alleged role in Trump’s Ukraine scandal
Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), is suing Politico after it published a report that exposed his alleged role in the Ukraine scandal that's engulfing the Trump White House.
Fox News reports that Patel, who currently works at the National Security Council, is alleging that the Politico story is false and defamatory and part of a broad conspiracy to bring down President Donald Trump.
The story in question claimed that Patel constantly fed negative information about Ukraine to the president and helped convince him that the country was out to get him.
Trump’s pardoning of convicted war criminals is a ‘serious threat to the military he professes to love’: retired US Marine Colonel
In an op-ed published over at Just Security this Monday, retired US Marine Col. David Lapan accused President Trump of "damaging our military" with his recent interventions in military justice cases involving US servicemembers convicted of war crimes.
This Friday, Trump cleared three service members who had been accused of or convicted of war crimes, directly refuting military leaders who sought to bring them to justice. As The New York Times points out, all three servicemembers have been praised by conservative lawmakers and commentators who have portrayed them as heroes unfairly maligned for actions taken during the complicated process of war.
Investigation picking up steam after IRS whistleblower claims political appointee meddled with audit of Trump or Pence tax returns
U.S. Senate investigators are probing a whistleblower’s complaint charging that a political appointee may have “meddled” with an IRS audit of either President Donald Trump’s or Vice President Mike Pence’s taxes, or the returns of both.
Of note is the investigation is bipartisan, and is moving forward, The Washington Post reports.
Investigators are on the staffs of both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Vice Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR).