A Venezuelan businessman who was formally declared “persona non grata” by Miami city commissioners last week denies claims that he is connected to Globovisión, a Venezuelan television network accused of ignoring human-rights violations.
At the urging of former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo, who drafted the symbolic resolution calling Globovisión’s owners “hypocritical, unwelcome and repugnant to the residents of Miami,” commissioners voted unanimously to publicly snub Juan Domingo Cordero, Raúl Gorrín and Gustavo Perdomo.
According to Carollo, the three men own the Venezuelan network.
Cordero, in a letter and a statement through his attorney, Frank Quintero Jr., said Monday that Carollo is wrong. Cordero severed all ties to Globovisión in August 2013, including disposing of all his shares in the company, when he resigned as its president after three months, Quintero wrote.
“Currently, he has no relationship at all with the company and hasn't participated in any decisions made in the last nine months,” according to the statement.
Carollo claims that, following the February student-led protests in Venezuela, Globovisión refused to report on violent clashes between opposition protestors and President Nicolás Maduro’s government. He said the station silenced journalists, leading to mass resignations.
In a two-page letter, Cordero wrote that during his short tenure as president he sought only to promote unbiased and fair journalism. He blamed his successors, Gorrín and Perdomo, for the controversies that followed.
Cordero also wrote that Miami commissioners should have done more research and fact-checking before they denounced him.
Reached Monday, Carollo said he stands by his statements about Cordero’s connection with Globovisión.
“He’s just trying to pretend like he has nothing to do with them,” Carollo said.
Neither Cordero nor his attorney could be reached for comment after they released their statements. Attempts to reach Gorrín and Perdomo were unsuccessful.
Commissioner Francis Suarez, who passionately spoke at the meeting about the need for the city to speak up about injustices taking place in Venezuela and other places around the world, said Monday he did not know whether the city independently verified the information provided by Carollo.
“Anytime a former mayor comes before us, we obviously give him great deference,” Suarez said, adding that he was open to meeting with Cordero and his attorney to review any evidence that supports his assertion that he was not involved with the television station after August 2013.
But Suarez questioned Cordero’s timing,
“I find it a little disingenuous that a person comes after the fact when the meeting and agenda was publicized publicly,” he said.
In what appears to be an effort to further distance himself from Gorrín and Perdomo, Florida state records show that on May 16 — six days before the City Commission meeting at which he was voted “persona non grata” — Cordero resigned from and dissolved four companies tied to either Gorrín or Perdomo: Globovisión Tele C.A. Corp., a Florida affiliate of Globovisión; Seguros La Vitalicia, C.A. Corp., a Venezuelan insurance company; Inversora Conivenca Corp. and Interbursa International Inc.
“These people are just playing games,” said Carollo. “Everyone acted in good faith based on the information that was available.”