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Embezzlement in Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 01 Jul. 04 – Hugo Chavez is in full political campaign swing. Prior to the announcement by Electoral authorities of the start of the campaign leading to the recall, the president was already vociferous in that regard. Thus the very same night he pre-emptively informed the country about the results of the repair process, he deployed publicly the ensuing political strategy known as “La Batalla de Santa Ines.” In said battle, General Ezequiel Zamora retreated to a certain ground in order to ambush the enemy, whom once there was attacked and forced to withdraw. What followed was an annihilation plan consistent of endless prosecution against its oligarchic rivals. Quite interesting, isn’t it?

History, however, tells us that General Zamora was assassinated by his own men and could not savour the success of his plans. Such historical event was chosen by Hugo Chavez to promote amongst his followers the adoption of a lethal prosecuting plan against the fascists and corrupt oligarchy bent to oust him. If Venezuela’s contemporary past has any repetitive patterns it is the constant betrayal to our great leaders by their inner circle of collaborators in dire times. Liberator Simon Bolivar was object of few assassinations attempts himself during his endeavours. Other not so célčbre patriots suffered the same fate. Why does Chavez thinks that he will escape such destiny is the subject of much subjective analysis. Nonetheless the signs are already there.

Assemblyman Rondon has been threatening to reveal a considerable amount of documents that prove beyond reasonable doubt the embezzlement of Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez concerning illegal sell of gasoline to Colombian groups. The web site of the Office of the President has a banner allegoric to the aforementioned battle. Please do bear in mind that Venezuela’s recall campaign is yet to start and it is illegal for the president or any public official to make use of funds, institutions or investiture’s perks to advance partisan views (imagine an anti-Kerry banner in the White House’s site…) Not in the case of uber democrat Chavez, who abuses his attributions and wastes obscene amounts of public monies to further advance his campaign. In the meanwhile the General Attorney seeks to indict justices of the Supreme Court and leaders of NGOs, whilst complete silence wraps other issues that fall in the realm of his duties. For instance the lack of investigation in relation to the acceptance of Hugo Chavez of $1.5 million for his presidential campaign back in 1.998 from the Spanish bank BBVA, or more recently, the leakage of information in regards to PDVSA’s bond buyback that has made a few millionaires the past weeks.

Politicos of pre-Chavez Venezuela were incredibly corrupt and inefficient; however the impunity and outright amoral embezzlement of this administration has left a citizenry accustomed to maladministration scandals totally stupefied. And for that reason Chavez and his mates will be recalled in the very proximate future.

On a positive note, I had a conversation today with Vivian Davies, Chief Operating Officer of the London based Centre for Economic Policy Research, and asked him whether they had any relationship institutional or otherwise with Weisbrot’s CEPR. Firstly he did not know of the existence of an American CEPR nor has he ever heard of Mark Weisbrot. Secondly, he asked me to make sufficiently clear distinctions between the two think-tanks in future writings about Weisbrot’s propagandistic reports. Thus to conclude the embezzlement article of the day the following from our Constitution:

Article 150: Entering into contracts in the national public interest shall require the approval of the National Assembly in those cases in which such requirement is determined by law. No contract in the municipal, state or national public interest shall be entered into with foreign States or official entities, or with companies not domiciled in Venezuela, or transferred to any of the same, without the approval of the National Assembly.

Question to Venezuelan Assemblymen/women: did you approve the contract with the Venezuelan Information Office or the expenditure of nearly $8 million to promote the official version of reality in Washington?

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