Recently, members loyal to the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, broke into the Embassy of Venezuela in Brasilia during the BRICS summit. This break-in is not an isolated incident.
The instructions for the break-in were provided by Tomás Alejandro Silva. He had been put in charge of the Venezuelan opposition in Brazil given that Guaidó´s representant there, María Teresa Belandria Espósito, was in Washington. Some media outlets have accused the Venezuelan opposition member Alberto Palombo of been in charge of the whole operation. He lives in Brazil and was present when the events took place. However, this has yet to be determined.
Certain rumors were circulated by the opposition that two Venezuelan officials handed the Embassy over to Belandria´s group. Also, the government of Brazil claimed to have no knowledge of the incident prior to it taking place.
These claims have, to some extent, been disproved on account of a series of videos published by Freddy Meregote Flores, a business attaché for Maduro´s government, and Paulo Pimienta, another leftist lawmaker of the Partido de los Trabajadores.
Félix Carrillo is a Venezuelan citizen who has lived in Brazil for over ten years and works at the Embassy of Venezuela. He had been keeping Belandria up to date via Whatsapp on all the logistical and administrative matters inside the Embassy, and organized meetings between Belandria and other local Embassy workers. He also helped draw citizens away from the Embassy consulate, and into Belandria´s base of operations, thereby undermining the Embassy´s authority and severing the links between Maduro´s government and the Venezuelan community.
In an article titled “Pueblos contra el neoliberalismo”1 published last month in the digital Mexican paper “La Jornada”, a leftist political analyst stated the following: “…Bolsonaro´s Brazil acknowledges María Teresa Belandria as the Venezuelan ambassador. She, in turn, has all the necessary support from the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ernesto Araújo, and from the President´s son and Chamber of Deputies member, Eduardo Bolsonaro. Belandria has openly boasted about having had an influence in decisions such as including herself in the Ministry website list of ambassadors, as well as withdrawing all contact information pertaining to the legitimate ambassador.”
When checking this website, Belandria and Tomás Silva show up as the ambassador and the Minister-Counsellor respectively, despite the fact that they do not work in the actual Embassy.
The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, acknowledged Belandria as ambassador on June, 2019. Nonetheless, Belandria has been on the Itamaraty list of diplomats since February 11th. The latter matches the period when Juan Guaidó was in Brazil working out the details of the humanitarian aid for Venezuela.
Ministry website list
Tomás Silva, the Minister-Counsellor, is not very well known within the Venezuelan opposition. He was a member of Guaidó´s party, Voluntad Popular, and emigrated to Brazil during the guarimbas, violent clashes between Maduro sympathizers and the Venezuelan opposition.
The same article referenced above states that “Belandria is on such good terms with (Ernesto) Araújo that, contrary to what would be expected, it is not uncommon for her to be seen visiting the Chancellor at Itamaraty on weekends.” It is likewise mentioned that the U.S. embassy supervises Belandria´s work as Guaidó´s spokeswoman to the Government of Brazil.
U.S. embassy supervises Belandria´s work
Belandria lived off Itamaraty money for several months, which Araujo provided. Other expenses were paid for by the American Embassy. First, Belandria stayed at a modest residence in the outskirts of Brasilia. Afterwards, arrangements were made for accommodations within the luxury five star hotel “Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada”, where she remained for several months. The hotel is close to the Paranoa lake, about 850 meters away from the Alvorada Palace. Belandria´s current place of residence is unknown.
Belandria stayed in the luxurious “Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada”
Expenses Belandria made during her stay at the hotel
Another topic Belandria has been getting a lot of heat for is that “Bolsonaro is working against vice-president Hamilton Mourao´s attempts to prevent Brazil from taking military action against Venezuela”. This may be connected to claims made by his son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, president of International Affairs and National Defense Commite in the Chamber of Deputies, as to the alleged links between Venezuelan and Brazilian military officers. This is something Belandria has been working on to destroy.
According to statements made by Belandria, which were published on Infobae2 on November 11th, there are two unauthorized sergeants that have outdated visas and diplomatic credentials. This does not correspond to the information that is currently known.
These two military officers mentioned by Belandria are Division General Manuel Antonio Barroso Alberto, a military attaché for Maduro´s government, and his assistant, Sergeant Luis Rafael Mujica Majano. Both have had their visas renewed by Itamaraty and are recognized by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Belandria has kept in touch with several people, including: representatives of the Lima Group; a few military attachés in Brazil; Felipe G. Martins, who is the head of International Relations for the Social Liberal Party (PSL) and an advisor to Eduardo Bolsonaro; and Carla Zambelli Salgado, a member of both the government party (PSL-RJ) and the “Vem Pra Rua” movement.
Belandria is in a perfect position to provide media support to the Venezuelan opposition from Brazil. This investigation is to be continued.