The self-proclaimed president would have tried to negotiate the Essequibo territory in exchange for political support from the United Kingdom.
Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek Saab announced Friday the formal opening of a criminal investigation into the illegal negotiations of Venezuelan resources by the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, his envoy to the United Kingdom, Vanessa Neumann, and his external advisor, Manuel Avendaño.
"We began an investigation against Juan Guaido, Vanessa Neumann and Manuel Avendaño, who have been allegedly involved in an illegal negotiation," Saab announced and explained that their intention was to abandon the claim on the Essequibo, a territory which Venezuela disputes with Guyana since the 19th century.
"We will not allow it... We will do Justice," the Attorney General added and stressed that the opposition politicians were trying to "deplete our resources and deliver them to foreign powers."
The Attorney General statements occur hours after Vice President Delcy Rodriguez revealed that Guaido is part of a "criminal organization" which aims at delivering Venezuelan assets to transnational corporations.
When making this revelation she mentioned the recording of a telephone call between Guaido's advisers, Vanessa Neumann and Manuel Avendaño, who would have planned to deliver the Essequibo territory to Guyana.
#EnVivo �� | “El Ministerio Público y la Fiscalía General de la República tienen que actuar de manera expedita porque es un delito de traición a la Patria pretender entregar el Esequibo”, aseveró el mandatario nacional @NicolasMaduro pic.twitter.com/fWKXHTt5wv— Prensa Presidencial (@PresidencialVen) September 5, 2019
"The Public Ministry and the Attorney General's Office have to act expeditiously because pretending to deliver the Essequibo is a crime of treason to the Fatherland," President Nicolas Maduro said.
This 160,000 square kilometers territory is located in southeastern Venezuela and borders the states of Bolivar and Delta Amacuro.
Besides being rich in forest, mineral and oil resources, the Essequibo has a privileged geopolitical position, for it links the Caribbean Sea with the Orinoco River.
In 1899, however, this vast area was stripped of Venezuela due to an arbitration award, which was rigged between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
Venezuela's Attorney General also reported that authorities had intercepted a Guayanese flagged vessel in the waters of Nueva Esparta state. This ship has been seized, for it was smuggling over 700,000 liters of diesel.
At his press conference, Assad denounced the diversion of US$50 million in fuels, which were directed to La Fria Thermoelectric.