April 16, 2009
Klayman to hold press conference 11 AM today with lead plaintiff in front of Venezuelan Consulate, 1101 Brickell Ave., Miami, arranged by int’l PR firm Transmedia Group
MIAMI, FL. Â— You might say it was inevitable these two no-holds-barred fighters Â— one a champion of freedom and justice, the other a combatant for communism who rules Venezuela with an “iron fist,” would one day meet in a ring of justice.
That day has come as Larry Klayman’s Freedom Watch has filed an unprecedented class action lawsuit against the Venezuelan dictator and strong man, Hugo Chavez.
The stage is set for what is shaping up to be the legal battle of the century to be fought in U.S. District Court in Florida before Judge Cecilia Maria Altonaga, the first Cuban-American woman to be appointed as a federal judge in the United States.
Klayman’s lawsuit seeks damages from Chavez and his cronies for assault, supporting terrorism, crimes against humanity, violations of civil and human rights and torture of members of the class Klayman is representing including lead plaintiff Ricardo Guanipa, a Venezuelan citizen currently living in Miami.
Guanipa was a reporter for El Nacional in the 1990’s when he investigated and reported on allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering by top government officials in Venezuela and Cuba including defendant Chavez, and afterward was forced to flee his native country after receiving death threats, assaults and intimidation from plaintiffs, the lawsuit charges. Also with Radio Marti in Venezuela, Guanipa was granted political asylum in the U.S.
Ever mindful of the power of publicity for his legal exploits, such as his recently suing OPEC in Austria for allegedly supporting terrorism, Klayman plans to hold a news conference this morning in front of the Venezuelan Consulate in Miami. The lawsuit figures to be a topic of discussion at this week’s Summit of the Americas in Trinidad.
The lawsuit charges Chavez and co-defendants including Ramon Alonso Carrizales Rengifo, Vice President of Venezuela, with conspiring with Colombian paramilitary Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Al Qaeda, and the Taliban in committing atrocities and causing defendants to flee their native country in fear for their lives.