21:38 GMT25 January 2020
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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Venezuelan state prosecutor Tarek William Saab issued arrest warrants on Monday for officials thought to have helped opposition leader Juan Guaido sneak into Colombia despite a travel ban.

    Guaido, who declared himself president in January, was forced on defensive earlier this month when Spanish media published photos of him posing with a Colombian drug gang, the Rastrojos, at what he said was a concert in the Colombian town of Cucuta in February. He denied knowing the men.

    A member of the criminal gang, identified as Ivan Posso, testified on camera that several senior Venezuelan officials had contacted Colombian paramilitary to smuggle Guaido to the concert.

    "Arrest warrants were issued for Tachira deputy governor Loryis Silva, Boca de Grita prefect Luz Marina Pernia, La Fria prefect Camilo Roso Suarez and driver Jonathan Zambrano Garcia, known as Poor Patron", the attorney general’s office tweeted.

    Saab said that the four-faced treason charges for helping Guaido cross the state border illegally.

    In turn, Guaido has told the Blu radio broadcaster that he had made hundreds of photos with various persons during the humanitarian concert in the Colombian border city of Cucuta and did not know that some of these people had links to Los Rastrojos.

    Relations between Caracas and Bogota worsened amid a political crisis that erupted in Venezuela. In January, the opposition tried to overthrow Maduro in a bid to install its leader Juan Guaido. The attempt failed but the unrest continued with Maduro accusing Bogota of being behind the plot to overthrow and assassinate him. Colombia has denied the claims. However, Bogota, alongside some other countries, endorsed Guaido as an interim president.

    Maduro has also called Guaido a US puppet and accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup to force a change of government in Venezuela and claim the country’s resources.

    While the United States and its allies have recognized Guaido as president of Venezuela, Russia, China, and numerous other countries have said they recognize constitutionally-elected Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president.

    Topic:
    Political Crisis in Venezuela (577)

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    Tags:
    prosecution, smuggling, Nicolas Maduro, Juan Guaido, Colombia, Venezuela
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