Archive for August 22nd, 2010

How the Chavez robolution spent $155 million on housing and got nothing in return

August 22, 2010

Remember Maletagate? When the case was being discussed, we all learned that Antonini (the guy with the suitcase with $800,000), Duran and Kauffman were involved, among other things, in a housing project, whereby an Uruguayan company would sell prefab houses to Venezuela, as part of their aid to the revolution to solve the housing crisis.

Well, in the Comptroller’s report to the National Assembly, there is mention to one such contract, but the specific name of the company in Uruguay is not specified. But the coincidence of countries (The Comptroller does say it was a Uruguayan company) is simply uncanny.

The Comptroller’s report says that the Ministry of Housing paid US$ 155.47 million to this Uruguayan concern to provide 12,000 prefab housing kits and the corresponding technical assistance. That comes to about $13,000 per prefab house, or Bs. 27.855 at the rate of exchange at that time, not extremely cheap for a prefab house then, but no outrageously expensive either.

Guess how many houses were built?


Not 11,000, just eleven, like in 6+5, or 7+4. That’s it. ELEVEN.

That’s about US$ 14 million per prefab house. Even worse, the same report by the Comptroller says that even the eleven houses built had to be finished with local construction material, because not a single one of the prefab kits was sent complete.

Fortunately (I guess), only 45.47% of the contract was paid, adding to it some US$ 13.17 in “operating expenses which the Comptroller says: “there is insufficient documentation to determine the exactitude, sincerity and legality of these operations”.

Where is the Prosecutor on all this? Who was in charge of the Ministry? The Project? who were the intermediaries? Were they the same individuals involved in Maletagate? Will they go after anyone?

These are all silly questions. Clearly there is no intention of going after anyone. This is, like Pudreval and others, a project set up to rob and steal, not to get anything done. And those involved are high level Chavistas that nobody wants to go after. Why doesn’t the Comptroller say which Uruguayan company was involved?  Which Minister approved payment? Come on! These guys could even be running for office in September, but Chavismo has no interest in barring them from running.

Such are the ways of the robolution, spend 155 million dollars to solve a problem and not even begin doing it. For all intents and purposes, 11 out of 12,000 is as good as saying no houses were built. But a few Chavista millionaires were certainly created.

And that the robolution is very good at!