KATHMANDU: Venezuelan President’s son Nicolas Ernesto Maduro Guerra, flew to North Korea via China on Tuesday wrapping up his four-day visit to Nepal leaving room for speculation and prompting questions over the timing and motive of the visit. He got the visa the same day from the North Korean Embassy in Lalitpur, Nepal, an intelligence source said.
The source revealed that Nicolas and his delegation got visas on the basis of the “instruction” coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea. An official of the Venezuela intelligence agency met with North Korean Ambassador at the North Korean Embassy in Lalitpur and discussed Nicolas’ visit to the isolated country, which faces international sanctions. The embassy had handed over a diplomatic letter along with the visa to Nicolas’ delegation to avoid transit hassles in China.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan delegation had earlier booked a Thamel-based ‘Third Eye Restaurant’ for lunch. But, the booking was later canceled, as according to an NCP source, Nicolas had a ‘stomach upset’ due to ‘spicy’ food served in a hotel on Monday evening.
The 29-year-old Nicolas, who arrived in Nepal clandestinely leading an 11-member delegation, including three ministers on Saturday, received high honors, including a VVIP security in Nepal. During his stay here, he spent quite a ‘good time’ in engagements with senior leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), including NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, and Bam Dev Gautam.
The details of his visit remain vague. The ruling party has neither issued any formal statement about the visit nor has the NCP-led government made its stance clear as President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister K P Oli and NCP General Secretary Bishnu Poudel refused to meet the foreign guest. However, it has been learned that Nicolas was here at the invitation of the ruling party’s youth organization.
Observers, however, describe the visit as something “unusual” as ruling party leaders got a lot of photo opportunities with Nicolas, a leader from the South American country, which currently faces sanctions by the United States.
Nicolas is a member of the National Constituent Assembly, considered “illegitimate” by the United States, and was designated by his father to be the director of the Inspectors Corps of the Presidency.
A US State Department source, who also looks after South Asia, including Nepal preferring anonymity, told Khabarhub that they are looking the visit by Nicolas keenly. He said that a person from a country that is currently facing sanctions by the United States receiving a warm welcome in Nepal — a good friend and partner of the United States — and meeting top leaders of the ruling party can’t only be a coincidence.
“The treatment and hospitality that the ruling party leaders gave to him could impact US assistance to the Himalayan nation,” the official said adding that it is unfortunate the Nepali leaders extended the cordiality to an ‘illegitimate’ state without comprehending the ground reality of Venezuela. The United States wants a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis.” He further said that the US maintained caution as it doesn’t want the bloodshed to happen in Venezuela, adding that they were ready for alternatives if Maduro doesn’t desert power peacefully.
Venezuela is currently going through a political tension since last January when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for another six-year term as chief executive, which was not accepted by the opposition nor by much of the international community. In response, opposition leader and National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of the nation.
The United States was the first country to recognize Guaido as interim head of state and was later joined by some 50 other countries, most of them in Latin America.