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Corruption in Venezuela's robolution marches on without control

By T.A.C.

Caracas 28.01.07 | The corrupt men that surround Hugo Chavez are becoming very rich indeed and there is no control whatsoever. Even worse, we knew they had no scruples, but now they are not even trying to maintain any appearances and they are doing things very openly. Case in point is this contract that has reached my hands between the state of Carabobo, whose Governor is the burping General Acosta Carles and PAC RIM Group de Venezuela, an unknown company that participates in this juicy "alliance" as the contract is euphemistically called to build and manage the Puerto Cabello airport led by none other than Chavez' buddy General Cruz Weffer, who is best remembered by the rampant corruption of the Bolivar 2000 project, which he ran. General Weffer was never charged for the numerous irregularities of that program found by the National Assembly and the Comptroller's Office, so that he can travel around the country in a private jet (Citation), which I am sure is under the name of some front company that we could never prove he owns. The President's buddies and friends are simply never charged or prosecuted, that is the basis of his power over them.

The contract or "alliance" is a piece of work. I will not bore you with the details, but just give you a sample of its juiciest clauses:

- At a time when Chavez is canceling concessions from the old oligarchy and requiring at least 60% majority or nationalizing companies, it grants (Clause 4) a 50-year concession to the company to run the airport.

- It calls for investments by PAC RIM Group de Venezuela of "only" US$ 850 million. Clearly nobody will dare ask where this money is coming from at a time when foreign investment in Venezuela has been frozen for two years. I am sure General Cruz Weffer will say he has a "group" behind him that will never be identified. I would bet this is a very patriotic reinvestment of the same funds "distracted" from the Government's coffers, when Chavez was not looking or looking the other way.

- But the sweetest clause in the contract (Clause 27, point 27.2), which may surely be called the Santa Clause, is that the company is given a grace period of eleven years (three of construction + eight) for payment of the fees established by the contract to the Governorship of Carabobo.

There you have it gents and dames, PSF's and foolish supporters of the Chavez robolution: The people of Venezuela are being robbed blind to create a truly rich and powerful new oligarchy using their money under the guise of a revolutionary process. Corruption in Venezuela had never been as large, blatant and in your face as it is today.

But what's more worrisome about this affair isn't even the corruption surrounding it, rather the possibility, given the characters involved, that Puerto Cabello's revamped airport becomes base of the many drug cartels currently operating in the country with the ever helping disposition and involvement of high ranking members of the Chavez regime, as denounced recently by a captured Colombian drug lord. Up to 80% of Colombia's drug trade is believed to enter the international markets via Venezuela, whose inexistent anti drug policies and utterly corrupt authorities are a god send to the region's narcoterrorists and drug cartels.

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