Archive for June 7th, 2005

Resignation demonstrates why corruption is rampant under Chavez

June 7, 2005

Normally, the resignation of the President of Fogade,
the fund that guarantees bank deposits in Venezuela, who was reportedly
fired, would not be news. But in this case it is, because it shows once
again the lack of ethics of this Government and explains why corruption
runs ranmpant under Chavez.

Caldera Infante was probably the Government official that made the most
extensive use of the Tascon list in order to persecute the workers of
Fogade that had signed agaisnt President Chavez, firing over one
hundred career employees of that institution, but protecting his
buddies from the social christian party COPEI. He ahd been an actove
member of this political party and had occupied important positions in
Government during the
Caldera administration, before he saw the “light” of the process.
Unless, of course, he only saw an opportunity to profit personally.

Caldera Infante will obviosuly not be prosecuted or charged for these
political crimes and human right abuses as he will be protected the
same way this Government protects all of those that serve it.
Destroying careers, lives and people for political gain, is not a crime
under this administration. On the contrary it is a credential of fidelity and loyalty to the almighty leader.

But neither is corruption for those that work for it. Last Fall in the
transcript of the now infamous meeting in Fuerte Tiuna, Chavez
fustigated corruption, but did admit that nobody has been charged with
it in the six years he has been in office. Which is not strictly
correct, as he and his then buddy Miquilena were accused of receiving
illegal political campaign contributions in the millions of dollars, for which there was and there is
very precise and public proof. But these accusations by the opposition
never went anywhere. Miquilena was absolved by the Supreme Court and
the case agaisnt Chavez is stuck in a black hole in the drawer of the
Prosecutor’s office with so many others.

But the Government has always found reasons to accuse opposition
figures with corruption, such as acccusing Chacao Mayor Lopez of
illegally changing funds from one line item to another in order to pay
salaries, when Chavez increased them by decree three years ago. This is in a country where billions of US dollars are still
missing from the FIEM fund, where the difference between what PDVSA has
given to the Central Bank and what it should have, is also in the billions
and where it is still unclear whether the development bank did or not
spend the full US$ 2 billion in social programs last year. Or how it
was spent.

But corrupt Govrenment official after corrupt Government official has
been removed from office and not one has been charged by the
Prosecutor’s office. One can go back to the infamous Bolivar 2000 project
where mid-level officers would have hardware stores issue fake receipts
for tens of thosands of dollars. And nothing happened. Or more
recently, the President of PDVSA fired 24 managers in the Western part
of the counry for “corruption”. Buf not one of themhahs been charged,
or investigated. In fact, they were fired, their severance pay
cancelled and they have all shown the letters used to get rid of them,
in which no mention is made of theit supposed corruption.

Or we could point to the thosuands of buses used each time Chavez
decides to have a march, even if he does not show up. Who pays for
that? The Prosecutor or the comptroller have never even bothered to ask
such simple questions. Or the finances of food program Mercal. Does it
make sense to the Prosecutoir and the Comptroller that this
not-for-profit program, imports with official dollars, uses military
and facilities to transport foodstuffs, pays no taxes, no custom
tariffs and prices are just 15% below market prices? Yeah, and I
in Santa Claus too.

But the Caldera Infante case is emblematic of the cesspool of
corruption this Government has become and the total impunity that
surrounds it. He was not only accused over and over of direct and
indirect corruption and mismanagement as Head of Fogade, but he ahs admitted wrongdoing in public. He has been
accused so many times, that even the National Assembly invited him to
testify to “clarify” some of these accusations. And in one of the most
irrelevant accusations, Caldera Infante demonstrated clearly his lack
of ethical and moral values when he justified the use of Government
planes for himself and his family “because I am a busy man”.

Busy trasnferring Government property in suspicious ways, busy firing
workers for political reasons, busy doing private deals, but apparently
not busy enough in protecting the financial integrity and property of
the many companies that Fogade has run since the financial crisis of
the mid-90’s. And he was fired, but he will not be charged. He was
careless. He was too open. He made them look back, but he will be
protected like so many others.

I could make a long list of all the corruption cases, those accused,
those fired by Chavez, those declared innocent. But I will make a
simpler list:

Name of those Government officials of the Chavez administration formally charged with corruption:


Name of those convicted:


Do I need to say more?