Venezuelan deputies claim to have found new evidence that President Nicolás Maduro was born in Colombia and presented the nation with a fake birth certificate, according to one of Spain’s largest newspapers.
ABC reports today that deputy Walter Márquez, who initially revealed his concerns that Maduro was not legally able to run for president last autumn. While Márquez and fellow deputy Abelardo Díaz had accused Maduro of lying about his birthplace in the past, they revealed the results of a year-long research project on Thursday. They interviewed relatives and witnesses and concluded that Maduro not only has dual citizenship, but gained his Colombian citizenship at birth.
The 50-page study (published here in Spanish) contains Maduro’s parents’ marriage certificate, birth certificates, and interviews with a number of neighbors of Maduro’s parents at the time, all of which requested to remain anonymous. Miami’s El Nuevo Herald reports that Márquez spoke to “more than ten neighbors” independently, all who testified the same way. The study concludes that Cuban nationals had tampered with the records in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, to destroy evidence that would link Maduro’s birth to the city. “Cuban agents have made disappear all sorts of clues so that we could not trace the exact place and time of his birth, both in Colombia and Venezuela,” Márquez alleged in a press conference today.
Márquez also announced that the birth certificate presented by election commission chair Tibisay Lucena before the elections last October was false, according to two verification experts consulted by the study. Márquez added that he had not found any leads pointing to Maduro’s Venezuelan citizenship outside of Lucena’s documentation, just as he had not six months ago. Márquez did find that the official birth certificate was filed two years after the alleged date of birth, an anomaly that triggered the need for further investigation, according to the deputy.
Article 41 of the Venezuelan Constitution explicitly prohibits foreigners from running for president.
The claim that Maduro was born in Colombia is especially damning because of the leader’s inflamed rhetoric against that country. Maduro has attacked the country, which has close ties to the United States, for aiding protesters in Venezuela. He has particularly called out former President Álvaro Uribe, who has not been in power since 2010, for supporting the protesters and has claimed that he is funding them and inciting paramilitary violence. Protesters insist–and have proven with video and images–that it is the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard, backed by the communist Cuban government, that has been attacking and killing protesters.