Family Business: Corruption In The Maduro Regime
By Ricardo Guanipa D’erizans July 25, 2019
On June 28, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Nicolás Maduro Guerra, son of illegitimate Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, for his participation in government censorship and corruption. Maduro Guerra, also known as Nicolasito, is the latest Maduro relative to be sanctioned by the U.S. government.
To learn more about Maduro’s family involvement in corruption, Diálogo spoke with Freddy Superlano, president of the Permanent Finance and Economic Development Commission at the Venezuelan National Assembly, and Américo De Grazia, an Assembly representative who took refuge at the Italian Embassy in Caracas in May.
Diálogo: Has the Finance Commission been able to carry out an investigation to demonstrate the participation of Maduro and his family in corruption cases?
Freddy Superlano, president of the Permanent Finance and Economic Development Commission at the Venezuelan National Assembly: No conclusions as such, because there’s no access to information in Venezuela. Since we entered [the National Assembly in December 2015], we haven’t been able to access information from the Office of the Prosecutor or the Comptroller General. And they prevented officials from appearing with a ruling from the Supreme Court of Justice. However, we’ve exposed the connection of Cilia Flores [Maduro’s wife] to Colombian businessmen involved in corruption with the CLAP delivery [Local Supply and Production Committee], where Maduro misused more than $5 billion. Deputy Américo De Grazia also exposed the participation of Nicolás Maduro’s son, Nicolás Maduro Guerra, in illegal mining in southern Venezuela, as well as high military commands linked to illegal businesses in Petróleos de Venezuela, mining or CLAP.
Diálogo: Does Maduro’s son lead a gold smuggling network?
Américo De Grazia, representative of the Venezuelan National Assembly: In recent years, we’ve exposed all activities involving corruption; mining extraction in the Orinoco Mining Arc, connections to criminal and terrorist groups such as the National Liberation Army [ELN, in Spanish], Hezbollah, Hamas, armed colectivos, and pranes [gang leaders] organized in unions operating in 51 percent of the national territory, covering Delta Amacuro, Bolívar, and Amazonas states. Nicolás Maduro Guerra, son of Nicolás Maduro Moros, has been obviously involved not only in gold mining, but also coltan and diamonds, with direct links to guard their mining sites. The ELN manages them directly. The colectivos, military, or third parties don’t manage them, nothing like it. Moreover, other Nicolás Maduro Moros relatives, whose names I don’t remember, are involved in gold mining.
Diálogo: Can you prove that?
De Grazia: In 2016, Venezuelan Army First Lieutenant José Leonardo Cúrvelo was caught in La Romana [a military checkpoint in Bolívar state]. He had a significant amount of bolívares in cash, bound for the mine. That money came from bank accounts of PDVAL [Venezuelan Food Production and Distribution] and MERCAL [Food Market Mission], operated by Cilia Flores’ nephews, and the mission was to take them to the mine for payment. This is in a file that we submitted and presented to the Office of the Attorney General, the Ombudsman’s Office. That file proves the involvement of the Maduro-Flores family in the mining industry. We have the testimony of the First Lieutenant, who is now exiled in Lisbon, Portugal. I’m at the Italian Embassy in Caracas, so I can’t provide names because I don’t have the files, but it has all been proven.
Diálogo: Has Maduro designed a criminal network within his government?
Superlano: Of course he has. For example, in Cilia Flores’ case her relatives have had high positions within the national government. For example, Carlos Malpica Flores [Cilia Flores’ nephew], chief financial officer for Petróleos de Venezuela and also former national treasurer, is connected to Alejandro Andrade [sentenced to 10 years in a U.S. prison] and Raúl Gorrín [a fugitive from U.S. justice] in a corruption scheme that nears $5 billion in wire transfers made by Gorrín with the National Treasury and Petróleos de Venezuela. It’s also been estimated that transfers might have reached more than $7 billion. But there are also other Maduro family members who are involved in corruption and narcotrafficking, which is the case of two of Cilia Flores’ nephews, who are imprisoned in New York [serving an 18-year sentence] for cocaine trafficking. Evidently, since this lady became president of the National Assembly [2006-2011], she appointed all her family to various positions back then, such as Assembly directors; the Parliament’s roster had also many of Cilia Flores’ relatives. When she entered Miraflores, her nephews [took on roles] at the CICPC [Scientific, Criminal and Forensic Investigations Corps], the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Miraflores Palace, Petróleos de Venezuela, and the National Treasury, among others.
Diálogo: How much money has Chavismo stolen during the 20 years of the regime?
Superlano: We have an estimate for the 20 years these gentlemen have been in office. We think that the patrimonial damage to the nation is near $350 billion, based on serious investigations several companies carried out, in the case of Petróleos de Venezuela, about $150 billion, or CADIVI [Currency Exchange Administration Commission], with $140 billion. This might not be accurate, since other important corruption cases are not included, for example regarding the electric power, but you can be certain that it isn’t less than $350 billion for the 20 years of the Chavismo-Madurist regime.