Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has signed a pact with international law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer for strategic counsel and U.S. relations work in light of that South American country’s ongoing presidential crisis.
Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly president Juan Guaidó
Guaidó, who heads Venezuela’s National Assembly, in January, declared himself interim president of the oil-rich country per the rules of its constitution after a widely-contested 2018 election saw current Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro win another six-year term. That election was recognized by the international community as fraudulent, yet Maduro, a protégé of deceased former president Hugo Chavez, refuses to abdicate and still retains the backing of Venezuela’s military.
The ensuing crisis since has seen Venezuela rocked by food shortages, rampant inflation and a lack of medical supplies, and leaves the nation on the brink of collapse. Violent protests recently erupted with soldiers near Venezuela’s border with Colombia, after Maduro’s national guard blocked humanitarian aid shipments into the country.
The international community—currently more than 60 countries—overwhelmingly recognizes Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful president, as does president Trump, who recently signed legislation imposing sanctions against Venezuela in an attempt to oust Maduro.
According to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed in February, Arnold & Porter will advise Guaidó’s team on matters regarding U.S. economic sanctions, corporate and banking law, U.S. litigation and international arbitration, and may also initiate contact with U.S. government officials concerning the preservation of Venezuela’s assets in the U.S. as well as economic and humanitarian assistance.
FARA filings name the foreign principal organization as Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under President Juan Guaidó, and listed its representative as Carlos Vecchio, who in January was named by Guaidó as Venezuela’s diplomatic envoy to the U.S.
A formal written agreement for the work, which currently sees the pro-Guaidó group paying the white-shoe firm on an hourly fee basis, has yet to be filed with the Justice Department.
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer was formed in 2017 after the merger of Washington, D.C.-based Arnold & Porter and New York's Kaye Scholer. The firm now counts more than a dozen office across the U.S., Europe and Asia.