AP- Miami- An ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has hired a Washington lobbyist whose business has boomed under the Trump administration as part of a $12.5 million effort to ease sanctions and reset bilateral relations as the U.S.-backed campaign to oust the socialist leader stalls.
The Maduro government’s top lawyer, Inspector General Reinaldo Muñoz, hired lobbyist Robert Stryk’s Sonoran Policy Group as part of a larger contract he signed with Foley & Lardner, a law firm with offices in Washington.
Both the law firm and Stryk’s Sonoran Policy Group registered as agents of Muñoz in separate filings with the Justice Department that were published Monday Von the agency’s website.
You must read: Drug trafficking build clandestine roads in Zulian farms
Their work includes “developing a strategy to approach the U.S. Government in support of delisting the Foreign Principal or other parties subject to U.S. economic sanctions due to their connections to the Republic,” according to the filing by Foley, which in turn is paying $2 million to hire Stryk as a consultant.
The outreach comes as U.S. support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom it recognizes as Venezuela’s rightful president, has come under fire.
Stryk, a winemaker and former Republican aide who unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Yountville, California, is one of the top lobbyists in Trump’s Washington. Like Venezuela, many of the clients have bruised reputations in Washington or are under U.S. sanctions, such as the governments of Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior, which signed a $5.4 million contract in May 2017.