Archive for February 7th, 2006

More (In)Justice from the revolution

February 7, 2006

So, on the
same day that Teodoro Petkoff received
a second notification
of a
process being opened against him and his newspaper (same case, two processes!),
the Prosecutor General asked for up to 16 years of jail for the leaders of
Sumate Maria Corina Machado and Alejandro Plaz, for the crime of receiving
$30,000 for electoral education from a foreign source, in this case the bipartisan
US Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy.

Chavez and his cronies were found innocent of violating any laws in the case of
the proven donation of US$ 1.5 million by Spanish bank BBVA to Chavez’
Presidential campaign. And in another case of Bolivarian justice, the
Government plans to build a monument to honor the infamous shooters of Puente
El LLaguno, who, of course, were declared innocent.

I guess
these judges when they drink in private sing in harmony with the President of
the Supreme Court “Uh Ah Chavez no se va”. Some (In)Justice!

My poor Venezuela

February 7, 2006

My poor Venezuela. And I don’t mean in the sense of wealth. Venezuela is a poor country anyway, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. But I mean it in the sense of ethics and morals, which seem to have been lost or misplaced by all. The Government allows corruption and graft to permeate the whole system, nobody is watching what is going on and the Government takes and allows others to take in a huge dance of the blind, where everybody knows what is going on, but nobody says anything. The country is being raped and pillaged in the name of the revolution, by the revolution as well as the friends and enemies of the revolution. It is a sorry spectacle, but it goes on everyday. Day after day and nothing happens. There is nobody to complain to. Nobody is listening, watching or saying anything.

The cynical behavior by Government officials continued today. It has now become “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” in the cover-up for the huge corruption that took place last Saturday, when billions of bolivars where shamelessly used to bus, feed, dress and entertain some 300,000 people to attend Chavez’ celebration of the anniversary of his bloody 1992 coup attempt. As if yesterday’s statements by William Lara were not sufficient, he actually held a press conference yesterday to deny the undeniable, today both the Comptroller, Clodosvaldo Russian and the President of the National Assembly Nicolas Maduro joined the chorus of the three skeletons that see, hear and speak nothing of the blatant corruption that took place last Saturday and seems to be taking place daily in this revolution where missing funds and strange transactions have become the rule, rather than the exception.

Perhaps Russian was the worst. Here is the man that has as his mandate the supervision of how Government funds are spent and that they are used for whatever they were earmarked. Venezuela, believe it or not, has one of the most modern anti-corruption laws in the world, that punishes not only the corrupt, but also the inefficient and the negligent. But it appears not to exist in Russian’s mind when he stated: “the accusations are part of the political debate…and it is the Electoral Board that has to look into the accusations”. Hello! That is not correct, Mr. Russina you are simply playing dumb, the main accusations are that Government money was used massively for a political event of a political party, which obviously you blindly support. Corruption and graft are not electoral issues that are a separate matter, also violated; the point is that money was ILLEGALLY spent on a political rally under your watchful and corrupt eyes. You saw it, but you don’t dare talk about it, you might lose your job. What is clear once again is that you are as corrupt as the revolution and you allow daily corruption to go on and on, the bleeding of the country simply continues under your watch.

The President of the National Assembly, Nicolas Maduro, joined the ever silent chorus, saying that there is no need to restrain Chavez because “the law is clear in what he can and he can not do” in terms of campaigning. and “the President amply follows the law”. Once again, it must be that Mr. Maduro does not even know what the law says. The events last Thursday and last Saturday had an electoral tone, were electoral events, where the autocrat even talked about his campaign, the structure of his campaign command and how things would be organized, only someone deaf and dumb could not have noticed the repeated violations of many laws. But Maduro did not, because he has no concept of ethics and morals and what it means to be Government and follow the law and be in charge of enforcing it. Once again, illegality is the rule on the part of those that are supposed to be entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing them.

But the whole thing reached a farcical and almost comical level, when none other than the Minister of Justice basically said “Let’s share the graft”. Minsiter Chacon claimed that he had offered opposition leader Antonio Ledezma with providing him some buses for the opposition march, but “probably he could not fill two buses if he accepted”. Thus, Chacon is willing to share the wealth, this must be a new program “Mision let’s all be corrupt?”. This from the same party that rewrote the Constitution to include a ban in campaign financing of political parties. How times change. That actually happened only five years ago!

Only the Prosecutor General said he was going to investigate the charges and we all know what will happen to that anyway, as nobody sucks up to Chavez like him. Meanwhile, they were trying to hide the evidence as reported by Descifrado, in which Government institutions are said to be scrambling to change the invoices from the supplies for the march. In the words of one of those contacted :”the public institution that hired me to get them food and beverages, signs, trucks and material are trying to figure out in whose name I should issue the invoice, I think payment is going to be delayed quite a while.” As Descifrado says: “If there is no proof, there was no cost”

Thus, Venezuela has become a free for all of corruption, since nobody seems to be watching. Only two weeks ago Chavez said that he “wanted to shoot those involved” in a corruption scandal with a sugar plant, denounced by a pro-Chavez Editor of Ultimas Noticias. Well, as the details become known, the story is more twisted and convoluted that it originally appeared. The sugar concern is run by civilians, who have reached the “conclusion” that those responsible are former and active military. You see the funds were giving to the previous board of civilians of the plant, who “happened” to hire companies owned by active and former military as well as the 62nd. Engineering unit of the armed forces to build the complex in another great example of “civilian-military unity”. But nothing was ever built, or almost nothing. And the money is gone, vanished.

Civilians supposedly denounced the shenanigans, so the military, including the Minister of Defense ordered an audit. Nothing was heard since then, until Ultimas Noticias made the accusation of the disappearance of the funds and Chavez staged another show of outrage on live TV for his captive audience.

As usual in these cases, the National Assembly ordered and investigation and appointed a Deputy who happens to be former military, just to close the circle. No, wait; there is always more in the pretty revolution: Last week the same National Assembly that is investigating the irregularities approved an additional allocation of some 216 billion Bolivars (some US$ 100 million)! I guess given the previous irregularities, they felt confident that they could throw some piece of small change after what is already bad money. But maybe, just maybe, someone in the Assembly will now benefit from this suspicious largesse. Nobody is watching anyway, so why worry?

Thus, slowly Venezuela becomes a society of accomplices, both Government and opposition, sharing the bounty in the name of the revolution. Ethics and morals seem to have reached a new low. The private sector is silent to protect their own, who are getting richer. The Government is silent to protect their own, who are becoming rich and getting richer. Opposition politicians barely mention the subject, could it be to protect their future funding sources? Only Petkoff among politicians and Garcia Mendoza, among the private sector, talk openly about graft and corruption, which everyone can see. Meanwhile, the rich and the bolibourgeois get richer, while the poor get poorer, all in the name of politics and the revolution.