Rudy Giuliani, Venezuela and the problem of double standards
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer allegedly interfered in favor of a member of the so-called Chavist "bolibourgeoisie" in Venezuela.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
As the impeachment moves forward against U.S. President Donald Trump, one name becomes more implicated every day: Rudy Giuliani.
The president's personal attorney is mentioned in White House transcripts, closed-door depositions and public inquiries by House Committees, casting him increasingly in a role not unlike that of an international double agent.
Since President Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy to "talk to Rudy" in the controversial July 25 phone call that triggered the impeachment inquiry, the lawyer has emerged as a bridge between the president's personal interests and a network of international personalities, including several billionaires.
But it seems that the president's lawyer's work is not only confined to Eastern Europe, and his client portfolio includes other kinds of skirmishes.
According to the Washington Post, Giuliani traveled to Madrid in August as part of his efforts to convince advisers to the Ukrainian president to conduct political investigations against former Vice President Joe Biden.
During the same trip, Giuliani "stayed at a historic estate belonging to Venezuelan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López," a member of the so-called "Chavist bolibourgeoisie" that diverted millions of dollars from Venezuela’s energy companies.
Betancourt hired Trump's personal lawyer "to help him contend with a Justice Department investigation of alleged money laundering and bribery," the media explains.
Giuliani, for his part, tried to intercede for Betancourt before the head of the criminal division of the Justice Department to drop charges against him in a lawsuit that includes high officials of the government of Nicolas Maduro.
As the Miami Herald had previously reported, Betancourt is part of "a politically connected class of businessmen with financial ties to Miami" that has enriched itself through energy contracts with the Venezuelan government, as well as "overpaid" projects and "cozy relationships with top politicians.”
As Venezuela sinks into poverty and hyperinflation, and its people are forced to travel to other countries to survive, Betancourt bought an attic in Manhattan's Olympic Tower, a castle and other luxury properties in Spain, according to documents to which the Herald had access.
During his trip to Spain, Giuliani reportedly stayed at El Castillo del Alamín, a property Betancourt bought in 2011 for approximately 23 million euros, along with his two associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who also appear in investigations into President Trump's alleged abuse of power.
However, as far as votes are concerned, the official discourse of Trump's government has been to court the Venezuelan community in the country, making them believe that the White House cares about the situation.
Since last January's political crisis in Venezuela put President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence before the cameras in favor of a change of government, little has been done to resolve the crisis.
Although the U.S. government has sanctioned more than 150 companies and individuals and suspended visas for many of those associated with the Maduro government, Venezuelans in the United States still don’t have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and the country persists in misery.
Meanwhile, the interests of the Trump administration seem to have no problem with the double-standard discourse.