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Venezuela: EFE's chief Emilio Arrojo in bed with Chavez's revolution

By Aleksander Boyd

London 18.02.06 | There's been much talk of late about the alleged popularity of Hugo Chavez. Desperately trying to build up confidence towards the presidential race on December this year, Hugo Chavez has resorted to the most basic political trick: i.e. he's fabricating poll results. For that purpose Chavez counts with the services of one North American Opinion Research Inc., a company first quoted as being based in Delaware (turned out to be a lie), then in Pennsylvania (equally false). The Florida register of companies though, does contain information about a North American Opinion Research Inc. (NAOR) and there is where things get truly interesting.

As it turns out NAOR was registered on 03/02/2004 by Alirio Valbuena (FEI Number 201163145). Kaysa Makarem appears to be NAOR's secretary, the company operates from address 1549 NE 123 ST, NORTH MIAMI FL 33161. Kaysa Makarem, presumably with his brother Julio Makaren (note different ending in last names), are the registered officers of PETROTULSA R.L. CORP., which operates from the very same address 1549 NE 123 ST, NORTH MIAMI FL 33161.

Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections has an entry dated 28-01-02 entitled "Petrotulsa plans oil refinery"

28-01-02 Petrotulsa, a Venezuela private oil company with Swiss-based engineering company ABB, is planning to build a $ 2 bn oil refinery capable of processing 130,000 bpd. Petrotulsa's president Ricardo Valbuena said that the Swiss-based engineering company ABB has signed a letter of intent to that effect.

Interestingly the company was formed, according to the Florida register, on 11/18/2003. Further the name Ricardo Valbuena is not mentioned in the company's entry, as far as the Florida register is concerned.

The aforementioned leads back to Caracas

Not only do NAOR and Petrotulsa share offices in Florida. In Caracas they share telephone lines, and obviously offices too. Ergo it does not surprise that a company -Petrotulsa- planning to construct a $2 billion oil refinery, and whose officials share responsibilities in its sister polling company NAOR, predicted 'successfully' the recall referendum results, and are now suggesting that 6 out of 10 Venezuelans will vote for Hugo Chavez in the next election, as reported by EFE. We're talking about $2 billion ladies and gents.

EFE's bureau chief in Caracas, Emilio Arrojo, has rebuked criticism as to the validity of results provided by this fraudulent pollster and veracity of EFE's commentary. Stating that the results he had been furnished with were real and, equally, NAOR officials, whom he purportedly interviewed, indeed exist, Arrojo based his release on the opinions provided by Ricardo Valbuena (Petrotulsa president), Carlos Sanchez (NAOR's representative in Venezuela) and Faraon Viera. The contact details of Ricardo Valbuena, acting as representative of NAOR in the alleged interview with Arrojo, are the same as the numbers provided in this Petrotulsa website. It is therefore only logic to assume that NAOR's office in Caracas is located at Petrotulsa's address: Urb. Campo Alegre, 2da. Avenida, Torre Credival, Local C -1.

Venezuelan journalists believe that Emilio Arrojo, EFE's bureau chief in Caracas, is more chavista than Hugo Chavez. Although every person is entitled to its own political opinions / tendencies, journalists, such as Emilio Arrojo, have a duty of care and responsibility. Due diligence must be exercised, especially when dealing with disreputable information and sources, such as the ones cited above. Could Mr. Arrojo convincingly argue that he was unaware of the rather evident conflict of interests at play? Further, is it not clear that his penchant to toe Chavez's line and publish politically charged articles, instead of informing, are exposing him as a propagandist? Or are we to believe that EFE's staff is so utterly incompetent that they can not join the dots, as done here?

The Makarens

Sources in Maracaibo sent this information: The Makaren family is from Maracaibo, Zulia state. They were known drug traffickers and arms smugglers back in the 1980s, with links to Dutch-based crime groups that operated out of Aruba and Curacao. The Makarems had business links to the Escotet family. Juan Carlos Escotet, owner of Banesco, and the financial whiz kid that helped make Orlando Castro Llanes rich via, among other things, money laundering, was in business with the Makarens.

Julio Makaren is the front man of former Vice President Luis Miquilena and was, together with Tobias Carrero, one of his financial operators. Makarem and Escotet continue in partnership in different ventures. On the one hand Juan Carlos Escotet is the preferred banker of Chavez's right-hand man -Diosdado Cabello, and has become extremely wealthy, let alone influential, in the last decade, and on the other Julio Makarem and Ricardo Valbuena are figureheads and associates of Nicolas Maduro. Ricardo Valbuena appears to have a position of trust in Chavez's inner circle and is meant to be advising the caudillo in energy policies.

Other names associated with the Makarem, Escotet, Valbuena clan are Victor Gil, Carlos Gil and Victor Vargas.



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