Barranquilla (Colombia). – The Colombian government on Friday declared itself satisfied with the explanations of the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who denied meeting two alleged criminals of the band Los Rastrojos with whom he appears in photographs that have caused controversy in both countries.» What Juan Guaidó has done is titanic and so beyond the explanations he has given, which I think are satisfactory to me, what we need to say every day is the unrestricted support for the people of Venezuela to quickly regain their freedom» , said the Colombian president, Ivan Duque, in Barranquilla.
In an interview with the Colombian station Blu Radio, Guaidó, recognized by more than 50 countries as interim president of Venezuela, explained that when he crossed to Colombia on February 22 to attend a benefit concert in the border town of Cúcuta he took «hundreds» photographs.» It was hundreds of pictures that day and after we got to the concert, thousands. It’s hard to discriminate who asks for a photo,» Guaidó explained in response to the controversy caused by the photographs. Duke insisted that the Venezuelan leader «has given some explanations that we hear them today in the media.» The Colombian ruler recalled that when Guaidó was in Colombia last February, his government received and protected him.» When President Guaidó came to Colombia at the beginning of the year we facilitated entry into Colombian territory (…) it was received in Colombian territory and protected in Colombian territory,» Duque. «hero» and said that what must be borne in mind is that «he is an advocate of democracy, he is an advocate of his people, he is a man who has had the courage and the fortitude to confront a dictator and a dictatorship that has tried to take his life many times.» The photos were apparently taken on February 22, the day Guaidó crossed the border overland to reach Cúcuta, where a massive concert was held in Venezuela and from where the next day he led the failed attempt to enter his country with a caravan of humanitarian aid.
Guaidó (c). / EFE file.
Guaidó said that the photos, published by the president of Venezuela’s official National Constituent Assembly (ANC), Diosdado Cabello, are to create a smokescreen and try to deflect the issue that actually lives in Venezuela, such as the lack of food, medicine and the exodus of nearly 4 million citizens. Cabello revealed those images last Wednesday and accused Guaidó of being linked to members of the Colombian crime group «Los Rastrojos».» Los Rastrojos» is a criminal gang that inherits from the demobilized United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) dedicated to drug trafficking and smuggling, mainly on the Border between Colombia and Venezuela in the area that surrounds Cúcuta.La complaint about the characters of the controversial photographs were also made in Colombia by the director of the Progresar Foundation, Wilfredo Cañizares, who on his Twitter account posted images of Guaidó with two people he identified as Albeiro Lobo Quintero, aka «Brother», and Jhon Jairo Durán, aka «Minor». Durán was arrested alongwith Gerson Gregorio Rosario Aquino, alias «Torombolo», on June 18 in Colombia after fleeing a shootout in which at least 12 people were killed. According to police sources cited by the newspaper El Tiempo, Lobo Quintero was the alleged financial ringleader of «Los Rastrojos».