Adviser denies Venezuela oppo leader Falcón seeks presidency

FILE - In this May 20, 2018 file photo, anti-government presidential candidate Henri Falcon addresses supporters in Caracas, Venezuela. Documents filed before the Department of Justice the third week of July 2019, show that Falcon wants support from the United States to become the president of Venezuela and hired a Canada-based lobbyist for $200,000 to achieve that goal. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, FIle)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Henri Falcón wants support from the United States to become president of his homeland and his party has hired a Canada-based lobbyist for $200,000, according to documents filed with the Justice Department.

But an adviser to Falcón said Thursday night that the filing wrongly included an indication that Falcón has presidential aspirations.

The documents were filed this week by the Montreal-based firm Dickens & Madson Canada, which said it had been hired by Falcón's Progressive Advance party.

Francisco Rodriguez, a New York-based economist and adviser to Falcón, told The Associated Press that language related to any presidential aspiration "was inadvertently included in a regulatory filing due to a clerical error that is being amended."

AP was unable to reach Dickens & Madson.

As part of the consultancy agreement attached to the filing, Dickens & Madson said it will strive to conduct lobbying in the U.S. and Russia to achieve a "peaceful resolution" to Venezuela's crisis and the creation of tools to address a "humanitarian emergency, including the garnering of aid to stabilize the country during and after the political transition."

Falcón broke with Venezuela's opposition to run as an independent candidate when Nicolas Maduro was re-elected president in May 2018.

The Venezuelan opposition led by Juan Guaidó has been demanding new elections as part of a dialogue effort under way with representatives of Maduro. But Falcón has not publicly expressed a desire to run in the event of a new vote.

The United States and 50 other countries contend Maduro's re-election was fraudulent and recognize Guaidó, the head of the opposition-controlled congress, as head of the country.


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