By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- U.S Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the embattled regime ruling Venezuela was financing the “migrants’ caravan”, a procession of thousands of admittedly illegal migrants that started in Honduras with the stated aim of entering the US.
VP Pence said during a live video interview with the Washington Post that it was Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez who had provided him with the information about Venezuela being involved in the polemical “caravan de migrantes.”
“The President of Honduras told me this (the caravan) was organized by leftist groups in Honduras and financed by Venezuela,” Pence said.
As foreign minister, Maduro travelled to Honduras several times and organized similar border demonstrations in support of deposed President Manuel Zelaya, sacked in 2009 by the Supreme Court after he attempted to modify the Honduran Constitution in order to stay in power.
Maduro accompanied Zelaya in demonstrations near the Honduran border and allowed the deposed ruler to use a Venezuelan plane to fly over Honduras. The opposition to Zelaya accused Chavez and Venezuela of being behind demonstrations in Honduras that favored Zelaya’s return to power.
Zelaya has been linked to the “migrants’ caravan” through his old associate Bartolo Fuentes, one of the organizers of the protest and a member of Zelaya’s “Libre” political party.
In power, and after, Zelaya, a rich cattle rancher who was elected on a center-right platform, took a sharp turn to the left once in power, hung out with Chavez and Maduro and has received the support of many of the same groups organizing the caravan. Most tellingly, Zelaya adhered Honduras to Chavez’s ALBA regional trade initiative, a bloc that tried to take on Mercosur and, ultimately, present itself as an alternative to the OAS, but which was unable to retain traction after the death of Chavez and decline in oil prices that put a crimp on in Venezuelan largesse.