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Venezuela: Investigation opens against Guaido opponent for “high treason”

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The Venezuelan Attorney General, known to be close to the Chavisist regime, announced on Friday the opening of an investigation against opponent Juan Guaido for “high treason” for wanting to “deliver” to multinationals the Esequibo, a rich territory of Guyana claimed by Caracas.

“We are opening an investigation” against Juan Guaido for facts that constitute “a crime, that of high treason,” said Tarek William Saab in a televised address.

Several investigations have already been launched against Juan Guaido. Justice, which the opposition accuses of responding only to President Nicolas Maduro, suspects him of “illegal financing”, of having violated a ban on leaving Venezuela and “usurping the presidential office”.

The latter charge triggered an investigation as early as Jan. 23, when Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela. It was then recognized as such by some fifty countries.

The parliamentary immunity of Mr Guaido, who chairs the Parliament, has already been lifted, but he has not been questioned. Washington has warned that stopping it would be Nicolas Maduro’s “ultimate mistake”.

The socialist president had urged Thursday justice to prosecute Juan Guaido for “high treason”, accusing him of wanting to “deliver” the Esequibo to multinational companies.

These accusations are based on a vocal message divulged by the Chavista government in which a person identified as being in charge of the American administration communicates with an “external adviser” of Mr. Guaido.

The person presented as a US official urges this “adviser” to “change the position of Venezuela” and “deliver the Esequibo” to ExxonMobil and other multinationals, according to the government of Nicolas Maduro.

Esequibo is a territory rich in minerals and bordered by a maritime zone with oil resources. Its sovereignty is claimed by Venezuela to its eastern neighbor, Guyana.

Caracas challenges an arbitral award made in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century, granting the region to the British colony of the time, and puts forward the 1966 agreement proposing a negotiated solution. The tension resurfaced in 2015, on the occasion of the discovery of oil in disputed waters.

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