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Jose Vicente Rangel: Venezuela's prince of darkness seeks to alter the future

By Kenneth Rijock, Financial Crime Consultant

02.03.06 | Venezuela’s dysfunctional Vice President wants to influence his country’s future government, post-Chavez. One can understand that; he ran unsuccessfully for president in 1973, 1978 and 1983. What is troubling is what he envisions for the next Venezuelan administration.

Rangel has been seen meeting with Teodoro Petkoff and other potential opposition candidates, both in his office, as well as his official residence. He has reportedly offered, on behalf of his patron Hugo Chavez Frias, that the government will refrain from interference with the electoral process. However, there’s a catch: the candidates must agree to an amnesty for all Chavistas should an opposition candidate win.

This means that the billions stolen from PDVSA revenues and the National Treasury by the Bolivarian Elite could not be seized and forfeited by the new democratic government. Likewise, there could be no criminal prosecutions. This way, if Chavez loses the election, he still wins, as does his inner circle. The real losers will be the next generations of Venezuelans, who will be without the billions of government assets stolen by the Chavez regime. He calls it amnesty; it is a get-out-of-jail free card for criminals, including Rangel, a multi-millionaire from years of thievery.

Rangel likes to use that word, amnesty. He uses it to keep certain media in line; refrain from criticizing Chavez or his regime, and he will leave you alone. It works for Venevision, Televen and Ultimas Noticias. So much for freedom of the press. Also, if you want to expand your business, follow the Chavez line, and you will get a large amount of government business.

Why would Rangel give his cronies a free pass with their illicit millions? We should not be surprised that the Vice President is choosing his Bolivarian gangster brethren over the people he is sworn to serve and protect; his entire career has been a string of corrupt acts, arms dealing, extortion and other crimes, beginning illegal deals, with partner Luis Miquilena in the Institute of Municipal Credit of Caracas during the Betancourt period, and culminating in stealing funds from PDVSA revenue to pay for a new helicopter for Nicaraguan Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega.

Can we expect any less from a man who coerces others into purchasing his wife’s statuary and sculpture, and holds the national title for phone sex? And who is rabidly anti-American and anti-Colombian, while embracing Cuba, the FARC and ELN? Of course not, a man who no longer speaks to co-conspirator Luis Miquilena because they fought over money they stole from Venezuela and hid in a bank in the Far East, and who is a close friend of the family of Carlos Ilich Ramirez, known to the world as The Jackal. Amoral is too weak a word.

Opposition candidates cannot make this deal with the devil. They cannot allow the worst group of “public servants” Venezuela has ever seen to keep their ill-gotten gains, which will allow them to have influence for decades to come. We don’t need a Venezuelan version of the Sandinistas, thank you. What we need is the Bolivarians in Venezuelan criminal court, where justice may be served, and the proper return of their illicit assets to the people of Venezuela.

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