Honduran Accused of Planning Caravan Denies Venezuela Support

(Bloomberg) -- A former lawmaker accused by the Honduran government of organizing the thousands-strong group of migrants heading toward the U.S. denied that Venezuela is financing the caravan.

Bartolo Fuentes, a former leftist lawmaker who was accused last week by Honduras’s Foreign Affairs Ministry of planning the so-called “caravan”, said migrants coordinated on Whatsapp and Facebook to leave in a large group in order to protect themselves from organized crime. Bartolo said his only role in the affair was to recommend in a Facebook post that people travel in groups for safety.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez told him the caravan is financed by Venezuela’s government and unspecified leftists. President Donald Trump said on Monday he would cut aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for not stopping the group.

The Honduran government is using “fictitious excuses” to shift the blame for the approximately 400 Honduran migrants who leave the country every day to escape poverty, said Fuentes, who now works as a journalist and migrant rights activist. The Honduran presidency didn’t reply to written message seeking comment.

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