Archive for December 1st, 2009

Some thoughts and questions on yesterday’s open accusations against the Venezuelan bolibouergois

December 1, 2009

While I did derive some satisfaction yesterday listening to the press conference led by Henry Ramos Allup about corruption in the robolution, I could not help but wonder if this could have been stopped earlier. Most of what Ramos Allup said, from structured notes, to buying banks with no money (and raping them), to PDVSA bonds, to insurance commissions, to scams, have all been chronicled in this blog in one way or another. (Only newspaper Tal Cual has covered this in detail, even infamous Globovision never touched most of these issues for fear of being shut down)

While sometimes I have had to limit names, the stories are here in detail, but its depressing to think that a Government that considers itself to be revolutionary has allowed this cancer to grow under its protection and allowed the biggest corruption scams not only in the country’s history, but likely in the Western world´s recent history to fluorish. We are talking billions, not millions as I have tried to explain many times, even if the cheerleaders of the robolution refused to admit it, calling me biased, hateful and out of touch with reality. Where are you now?

Ramos was clearly supplied with the information, but he had the outlines right and made mostly good use of it, not only citing names, the part mostly feared by those that denounce, but also mentioning amounts. And for each scam, there was usually a billion of commissions for those involved, under the not so watchful eye of the Comptroller and the General Prosecutor. And I knew most of the names mentioned but not all, some I do not know for sure if they should be there, many were missing, but many have known in detail the scams set up, while Chavez claimed to be fighting corruption and the Comptroller said he had investigated all cases brought to him.

I will not bore you repeating all of the details in this post, but would like to note a few aspects that are worth emphasizing at this time:

Government deposits in the banking system are (were?) huge: As of Sept. 29th. Government deposits in the commercial banking system reached Bs. 42 billion (US$ 21.55 billion) or 19% of monetary liquidity (M2). Despite this, the Government issued US$ 5 billion in debt in October. Even worse, of the Bs. 42 billion, Bs. 4.1 billion or US$ 2.155 were deposited in the four recently intervened banks in August and September. (Thanks to Jose Guerra for this information). This makes absolutely no sense! Who allowed it? Why? Recall that the Banco del Tesoro was created precisely to optimize the Government’s Treasury. But clearly these official deposits do not follow rationality, but graft and commissions and thus the problem. Venezuela incurs into more debt, as the money needed sits unused in banks which are bankrupt under the supervision and cooperation of the robolution.

Government officials cooperated with the failed banks: These people perpetrated their felonies not only under the eyes of Chavez and his Ministers and supervisors, but many made money out of it by allowing things to happen, by selling structured notes and bonds to these banks in opaque processes, transferring official deposits in exchange for commissions and bypassing the laws and regulations.

And Ramos named most of them, not all correct, but most are there, including the fact that the brother of Über-Minister Jesse Chacón, Arné, has gone from living in a “rancho” in 1997 to being wildly rich in 2009. And he admits that he did not put up a dime for buying his first bank and he said it is obvious that being Jesse’s brother helped him get deposits into “his” banks. Those are the new morals and ethics that the robolution is trying to instill in its supporters. Or how about the former President of the Comisión Nacional de Valores Francisco Candia, an unknown Lt. when he was named to that post, he just happened to be President of none other than Banco Confederado last week now at the services of Fernandez Barrueco. Was he being paid for favors in this manner? Or how about the fact that Banfoandes itself, a Government bank, had 25% of its deposits in private commercial banks?

And the Chávez praying mantiss effect is at its maximum: Poor Fernandez Barrueco has already been swallowed and convicted and former Minister of Finance Cabezas denies that “he even has a connection to the revolution” The bankers charged have no links to us”. Well Rodrigo, the only “banker” charged so far is Fernandez Barruecos, who only happened to be the largest supplier of Chávez’ Misión Mercal, a man that went from almost rags (He managed a parking lot when Chávez came to power) to riches (Worth US$ 1.6 billion according to his personally audited financial statements as of Dec. 2005, before he became a banker) To say nothing of the former cops, Captains, intelligence and military officers who are “bankers” in at least three of the four intervened banks.

And then the biggest Pinocchio has to be the Minister of Interior and Justice(??) Tarak Al Assiami who spoke to the gallery saying that he ” has asked Interpol for the capture of the Directors of the intervened banks who are outside the country”.

Funny, there is no order to capture them here and he has already ordered Interpol to do it? And Interpol will obey? That is not how Justice works Mr. Minister, youneed the Prosecutor to order the local capture first. All the Government has done is to issue a preventive order not to allow the Directors to leave the country. But if they are outside, until they are formally charged there is no way in Hell that Interpol will do anything but throw away Tarek’s request to the waste basket.

But lying like this, cheating the “people”, is now the rule of the day for these people who claim to feel sorry for the poor as they are killed daily under the same supervision and enforcement on criminals that seem to supervise and enforce banking laws.

These simple facts illustrate what a sham poor Venezuela is living. The Mafia has taken over under the guise of political ideals. Frankly, while anything should and could be better than this, the depth of corruption and unethical behavior, accompanied by the billions accumulated by the bolibouergois make me very pessimistic that Venezuelan can get out of this curse any time soon. We have become a country where lying, stealing and lawlessness are the rule of the day.

But can we get out of it or will the new rules and absence of ethics of the bolibouergois rule Venezuela for decades to come?