Bukele receives help from Guaidó: Advisers who financed the invasion of Venezuela falsify COVID figures in El Salvador
Lawyer Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, defender of Leopoldo López, currently holds the position of Presidential Anticorruption Commissioner of El Salvador
For 15 days, El Salvador has been immersed in a scandal caused by the alleged concealment of figures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a tactic that would have been coordinated by a group of advisers linked to Juan Guaidó that had the approval of the country’s president Nayib Bukele.
According to a series of leaked documents accessed by the data journalism and investigative portal La Tabla, the group of “health advisers” to the Bukele regime not only devised the concealment of numbers, but also created a system so as not to apply diagnostic tests and also on how to not make public all the COVID-19 cases that were in the laboratories.
The idea of this group is to prohibit health workers — who are in charge of carrying out tests to diagnose patients with COVID-19 — from carrying out diagnostic tests on health personnel presenting symptoms of the new coronavirus, to ‘make-up’ and lie about the numbers of those infected.
La Tabla detailed that this group of Bukele advisers are of Venezuelan citizenship and are closely linked to the Future Present Foundation (Fundación Futuro Presente), created by Yon Goicoechea, an active member of the seditious group Voluntad Popular that financed, according to the confession of those involved, the failed incursion against the Venezuelan territory with paramilitaries and mercenaries trained in Colombia, called Operation Gideon, which sought to kidnap or assassinate President Nicolás Maduro.
“The group of advisers to President Bukele is linked to alleged anti-Venezuelan Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as the ‘Fundación Futuro Presente’ that Goicoechea controls and administers. Precisely, that organization was used to pay for the logistics of training the mercenaries in Colombia who participated in the paramilitary raid”, stresses La Tabla.
Operation Gideon was led by Venezuelan deputy Juan Guaidó, with direct support and coordination from the President of the United States, Donald Trump, the Colombian government, the DEA, and the US mercenary contractor SilverCorp USA INC; all based on the contract signed by the parties that was publicly released by the director of that company, Jrender Goudreau, and by the testimonies of the mercenaries captured by the Venezuelan authorities, including two former personal escorts of Trump and veterans of the invasions of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Bukele lies under advice
Through Twitter, the La Tabla portal indicates that these Bukele advisers are being pointed out in El Salvador to direct a plan to manipulate the situation and lie about the behavior of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 in that Central American country.
“Venezuelan advisers to Bukele, singled out for tampering with evidence of COVID-19 in El Salvador, are members of alleged anti-Chavista NGOs, including the Futuro Presente Foundation (of Yon Goicochea), used to pay for training logistics for Operation Gideon. We are referring to the dentist Sara Hanna Georges, who, since the elections that Nayib Bukele won, is his social media advisor, and is or was director of ‘Futuro Presente’ “.
The portal adds that in this group of advisers is the veterinarian Miguel Arvelo, responsible for the Cardenalito Initiative of the NGO Provita. “The two advisers (Hanna and Arvelo) were pointed out by those responsible for the Public Health Laboratory of having ordered not to process samples of patients with suspected coronavirus sent from sentinel hospitals and to limit themselves to a crisis table schedule”.
According to the memorandum, on May 23, Sara Hanna ordered the Virology section to process the tests of that day and those of the following as a priority and to leave 1,674 tests pending (undone) that had been taken before the 23rd (of May)″, details La Tabla.
Advisers come from a far-right foundation
The data journalism portal recalls that the Future Present Foundation was created by Yon Goicochea in 2008, after “winning” $ 500,000 from the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize.
In addition, this organization “is a sponsor of the Lidera Program, for recruiting and training extreme right-wing youth activists”.
It highlights that the directors of Goicoechea’s foundation “have been involved in violent activities, such as the economist Rodrigo Diamante, prosecuted in 2014 for possession of explosives. While others, like Manuela Bolívar, act as fund and resource managers (Torre Zurich case) for the Guaidó project”.
“In contrast, veterinarian Arvelo’s NGO, Cardenalito Initiative, has an ‘ecological’ and ‘scientific’ profile but with the disturbing fact that its funding comes from the United States government, according to a promotional note for the project protected by Provita and Smithsonian Institute”.
According to La Tabla, “although now the ‘Red Siskin Initiative’ is part of the research agenda, its first project is carried out in coffee plantations in the Carayaca area, exactly where mercenaries from Operation Gideon hid”.
“An interesting fact” revealed by Wikileaks, adds the portal, “is that already in 2009 Sara Hanna was a confidant of the United States Embassy in Caracas”.
Complaints from health unions
Amid the scandal of the Bukele regime, several health unions denounced the president of the ‘Future Present Foundation’, Miguel Ángel Sabal, “for mistreating laboratory personnel” who diagnose COVID-19.
The complaint is linked to those also made against the veterinarian Miguel Arvelo, accused of manipulating test results and hiding them.
“Miguel Sabal: president of Futuro Presente, has an arrest warrant in Venezuela and he was in charge of USAID ‘help’ that was ‘lost’ in Cúcuta (…) Sabal has an arrest warrant in Venezuela because the foundation of political formation that he presides over was used to make logistics payments for the training of mercenaries of the maritime incursion against Venezuelan territory from Colombia carried out on May 3”, describes La Tabla.
Subsequently, the health unions also reported mistreatment of Arvelo, who went to the laboratories with Miguel Sabal.
With respect to the union complaint, La Tabla details that «Arvelo, who, like Sabal, identifies himself as an adviser to President Bukele, has prohibited the Max Bloch and San Miguel laboratories from carrying out diagnostic tests on health personnel who present symptoms of the coronavirus ”.
So far, “the situation involves three Venezuelan advisers in decisions about the management of the pandemic in the Central American nation, and none have any powers in the area of health”, states the research portal.
Bukele hired advisors from Leopoldo López and Guaidó
According to the investigation, there are at least six Venezuelan “advisers” to Nayib Bukele and “all are related to Leopoldo López and Juan Guaidó”.
The verified contracts are at least six and are at the disposal of the Presidential House. Among those hired is the fugitive from Venezuelan justice Lester Toledo, involved in the various sedition plans in Venezuela and a member of the extremist group Voluntad Popular.
Toledo appears on Bukele’s payroll as an “electoral consultant” for the presidential elections that Bukele won, in the first round, in February 2019.
By May 2020, the AP news agency identified him as the organizer of the maritime raid from Colombia and a year ago the Panampost indicated that Toledo was one of Juan Guaidó’s trusted men who participated in the theft and appropriation of funds and resources. sent to Venezuela as “humanitarian aid” for the population and which never arrived to the venezuelan people.
“Together with Toledo, Salvadoran media identified Sara Hanna Georges as part of the group of Bukele campaign consultants, characterized by an active management of Social Networks”, adds La Tabla.
In the last two weeks, the matter of the “Venezuelan advisers” has returned to the agenda, after letters from the heads of the laboratories were released, in which they denounce that Hanna and the veterinarian Miguel Arvelo decide which samples are analyzed to determine infections by COVID-19 .
About Arvelo, they mention that he is the coordinator of a bird preservation project called “Cardenalito Initiative”, which is directly financed by the United States Government.
Each advisor earns more than $ 5,000
Users contacted the La Tabla portal via Twitter and sent images of the marketing and tourism consulting contract that the social communicator Eugenia Vegas Rodríguez carries out for the Salvadoran Presidency for the current year.
“The amount is for $ 5,300 per month according to the attached receipt”, adds the aforementioned outlet, which was responsible for verifying “that the signatories are effectively officials with those charges”.
“Both the contract manager Cesiah Ordoñez Gutierrez, whose signature is noted in the document, and the administrative manager, Morena Rivas de García, are on the payroll of the Presidency” of Bukele, indicates the portal.
“To be more precise, the adviser’s name is much longer: Eugenia Mercedes de Lourdes Vegas Rodríguez Azpúrua, 31 years old, graduated in 2013 from the Monteavila University of Caracas -tutored by Opus Dei- and is part of the most traditional Caracas bourgeoisie”, it adds.
The documents also highlights the name of the lawyer Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, who was a defender of Leopoldo López -a fugitive from Venezuelan justice and protected by the Kingdom of Spain-, and is a member of the law firm Cremedes & Calvo-Sotelo, of Javier Cremedes, corporate spanish lawyer. Gutiérrez currently holds the position of Presidential Anticorruption Commissioner of El Salvador.
HRW Director on Bukele Links
The director of the Human Right Watch (HRW), José Manuel Vivanco, a staunch promoter of sedition in Venezuela and of Juan Guaidó’s false “interim” presidency, regretted in an interview for the newspaper El Salvador that members of Voluntad Popular are who serve as advisers to Bukele and who are also linked to the abuses of power in that country.
“If it is true that there are members of Leopoldo López’s party (Voluntad Popular) advising an authoritarian government like Bukeles’ and that they would also have been involved in activities aimed at manipulating data from COVID-19, it would be serious for the credibility of that venezuelan political movement, who fights against the Maduro dictatorship. In any case, this complaint should be investigated by the courts to clarify this delicate matter and determine responsibilities”, said Vivanco.
Vivanco said the Venezuelan opposition should set alarm bells over the close ties between Bukele and members of Voluntad Popular.
“As we have seen, the policies and practices, in addition to Bukele’s demagogic discourse, correspond to that of a despot with messianic tendencies. His record of abuses, distortions and opacity and his total disregard for democratic institutions (…) should set off all the alarms of the Venezuelan opposition (…) That Bukele has criticized Maduro and expelled Venezuelan diplomats from the Chavista regime is not enough to consider him an ally”, he says.
In reference to Lester Toledo, one of Bukele’s most furious defenders, because he is one of his advisors, Vivanco commented: “Toledo’s statements are extremely worrying, especially since he lives in exile in El Salvador and can see first hand what is happening” .
“Toledo mentions in a public letter to columnist Paolo Lüers that the achievements of the Government’s management have been the ‘decrease in homicide rates’, an ‘equipped public force’, the ‘recovery of control of penitentiary centers’, a ‘first world airport’, among other infrastructure works. I wonder: Which of those ‘triumphs’, even assuming they are true, speak to Bukele’s commitment to the rule of law, human rights, public liberties and democracy in the country?”, Vivanco commented.
And he adds: “It also surprises me that Toledo classifies ‘those who make the opposition [to Bukele] to make fake news campaigns on social networks’. An active opposition is a good indicator of the health of a democracy, as Toledo should know, given his personal experience”.
The journalist from El Salvador asked: What is it that characters of the stature of Leopoldo López or Juan Guaidó should know about Bukele management ?, and Vivanco answered sharply that at this point, if they read the most prestigious global press; And, if they examine human rights reports criticizing Bukele, such as those by HRW, Amnesty International, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations (UN), they should be able to recognize, with relative ease, the dismantling of democratic institutions and the serious setbacks caused by Bukele”.
Vivanco added that “given the presence of these Venezuelan advisers in the Bukele government and the passionate and unconditional defense that Lester Toledo has made, it is reasonable to think that there are questions regarding the degree of affinity of Guaidó or López with the Salvadoran. In that sense, I think it is in the best interest of these political leaders to clarify their position and to condemn — unambiguously — the abuses of Bukele. Otherwise, many could reasonably ask about the democratic values that they aspire to in Venezuela when there is a political transition in that country”.