Fri, Apr 21, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Venezuela a major funder of Trump inauguration

AP, CARACAS

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro might be struggling to feed Venezuelans, but his administration still managed to make a US$500,000 donation to US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, records released on Wednesday showed.

Inaugural committee records filed with the US Federal Election Commission show Citgo Petroleum, a US affiliate of Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, was one of the biggest corporate donors to events surrounding the swearing-in ceremony.

The donation topped that of some US corporate giants, including Pepsi (US$250,000), Walmart (US$150,000) and Verizon (US$100,000), and was on par with the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Exxon, which each donated US$500,000. It came in under Bank of America’s US$1 million contribution.

Even while accusing the US of trying to overthrow him, Maduro has been careful not to antagonize the new US president.

However, the Trump administration has recently stepped up its criticism of Venezuela’s government.

In February, Trump met with the wife of a jailed opposition leader at the White House and on Tuesday the US Department of State issued a statement decrying violence against protesters.

“Those responsible for the criminal repression of peaceful democratic activity ... will be held individually accountable for their actions by the Venezuelan people and their institutions, as well as the international community,” the statement read.

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