The last three weeks have seen clear cut proof of three corruption cases that are relevant despite the relative insignificance of the amounts involved within the size of the corruption that is taking place in the country. They are relevant because they are clear cut, there in no way to justify what was done and nobody can deny that they are cases of corruption involving the highest officers of the land:
1) The Citibank building that was sold to a local real state company for US$ 4.7 million, only to be sold to the Government one week later for US$ 9.5 million. Even worse, the building had been offered to the Government by Citibank itself earlier, but the Government expressed no interest.
2) The Bilbao building (see Editorial in Tal Cual this Monday July 19th.) in La Urbina in which Yavonca C.A. a local company purchased some space in that building, where a technical school had already purchased some property, for 1.92 billion Bs. Eleven days later Yavonca, sold the same space to the Government for 3.8 billion Bs.
3) Today, there is a copy of the approval by Chavez of the repairs of a Merlin III airplane owned by the Government for more than US$ 1 million, which was published in Reporte Diario de la Economia, which has now online version. There are two things that are outrageous about this operation. First of all, the memo, which is signed by Chavez and Minister of Finance Nobrega, actually says that the funds to repair the airplane will come from monies approved by the National Assembly for social programs. A Merlin III looks something like this, holds roughly 16 passengers, so it is hard to see what its social function is going to be. But what is more amazing is that for a million dollars you could probably rebuild it! The two engines, brand new, would cost only about US$ 300,000. In fact, a quick google search reveals that you could buy used ones for less than one million dollars easily!!! So, someone is making a nice piece of change from the fund for social programs.
Unfortunately, the absence of checks and balancs in the IVth. Republic is such that nobody is even looking into these cases. Such a pretty revolution!