The Fonden Papers Part V: More Information Suddenly Available

September 3, 2011

In a very interesting development, all of a sudden there seems to be a rush to have information about Fonden out in the open. For example, after the public absence of any financial statements from the fund since 2007, as if by magic, you can now find 2009 and 2010, as seen below here:

Notice however, that in the rush to complete the information, they somehow either missed or did not have the Financials for 2008, and the information jumps from 2007 to 2009. Two weeks ago, all that was available was up to the 2007 financials. Clearly, there is an attempt, probably in reaction to Deputy Ramos’ accusations, to add information and then say it was there all along. Pity I did not save a picture two weeks ago, but there is more..

Another “new” feature is that what used to be a list of projects without any content, now has a full description of each project, who is executing it, like for example, this rice project:

Where you now can see the information of how much was given to whom, who is executing the project, how much has been disbursed. The contractor is not named, just the Government organization that is in charge of execution. But this is the type of information that was not available before and now “magically” is on the web page.

In fact, you can search for the information in different ways, you can find all of the projects, you can find them by state or you can find it by organization executing the project. Funny thing is that in the rush to provide more and more information, the last list is simply a list of all Government organizations, even if they are not executing projects or maybe the information has yet to be updated.

For example, in this page you find a list of institutions “executing” projects:

Curious about seeing a list of projects executed by the Fondo Nacional de Ciencia Tecnologia e Innovacion, I clicked on it and despite the fact that I know there are projects in that area, there is no information:

So, either this is a comprehensive list of institutions or they are still upgrading the information. I suspect it is a combination of both.

While I have not studied the details, there are more than the 140 projects here than the list given by Minister Giordani to the National Assembly. That list seems to be a global list of projects, this list has the detailed information. More work to be done, help will be welcome!

Seems like there is an attempt to make the information public and claim it has been there all along and make Deputy Ramos look bad or make noise about it, but these pages will show at least the evidence of what happened in time.

33 Responses to “The Fonden Papers Part V: More Information Suddenly Available”

  1. Setty: Here is an unambiguous one: US$ 33 million to pay indemnizations for people who lost their homes due to land sinking.

  2. And we are still missing the 2008 Balance, how they can have 2009 without 2008 is beyond me.

  3. Artemisa Says:

    This is not surprising at all. Since the fund was created it lacked of a real accounting system. Assets (money, investment) and liabilities (contract signed) are totally mixed up. There are a bunch of out-of-balance contingent contracts such as structured notes and BRV contractual obligations just lost on the way… I bet you Fonden still uses Excel tables to track the status of each project. There are no clues about which currency, record system or even a government category, legal framework or entity were used to justify each expense. One of the complaints I have always heard is that Fonden cannot report to HCF a 100% accurate balance sheet. Besides, Fonden and Fondo Chino are not under the surveillance of the BRV Comptroller neither tracked by ONAPRE. The information Fonded decided to publish was totally useless but might calm some journalist ignorance.

  4. Actually, the above proyect: Proyecto Agrario Socialista Planicie de Maracaibo

    has three parts totaling US$ 440 million.

  5. Here is another example, this is a 139 million dollar project, with lots of description:

    Consta de un canal de riego principal de 48 kilómetros ubicado a lo largo del municipio; 9 Km. de acueducto enterrado; conductos de riego secundarios, terciarios y a su vez se trabaja en la construcción de 5 ciudades comunales, con viviendas dignas que beneficiarán a una población de 55 mil personas, mejorando así su calidad de vida.

    How much of this can be imported?

  6. Outstanding dollar debt I doubt it, such things are rare in Venezuela’s public administration system, you need permission from the Cabinet to have it. They could have had a small debt for some equipment purchased or something like that, but US$ 60 million to run orphanages in Venezuela requires little foreign currency. I am sure this was used for paying prestaciones, paying local debts and the like. The same way I am sure that the dozens of “Proectos Agrario Socialistas) in the list had some import component but were funded largely in local currency.

  7. It was supposed to be all in dollars, so that there would not be any going back and forth between Bs. and $.

    However, this was quickly forgotten. Take, for example, this “project:”

    “Resources for the liquidation the National Institute for Minors”

    US$ 60.4 million

    This was clearly an all local currency deal. How did Fonden get Bolivars?

    Many choices:

    -Sold it in the swap market
    -Sold it in Sitme
    -Sold it to the Central Bank

    My bet is that the last choice was seldom used (If ever)

    Arbitrage is the name of the game….

    Convoluted, no?

    But just think, Fonden could multiply the dollars too, exchange dollars for Bs. in Sitme and then ask the Central Bank for Dollars or buy bonds via banks.

    Sometimes, even the projects, not even Fonden could have done that too. Why not?

    Layer, upon layer of arbitrage.

    The marvels of exchange controls.

    • Francisco Toro Says:

      Good catch. Though I guess if I wanted to put the Minors(‘s Institute) to bed, spreading around $60.4 million greenbacks would do it!

    • sapitosetty Says:

      Just to be Devil’s advocate, it’s possible that this agency had an outstanding dollar debt that needed to be paid off, perhaps for construction of an orphanage, outside consulting, or whatever. So it’s possible they needed some dollars to wrap up the liquidation.

      That said, it’s very likely that the parallel dollar market was one of the destinations of Fonden money. Who would know about this, and what would it take to get him or her to talk?

      The only thing that comes to mind is what happens when Chavez etc are out of office. It’s been interesting to see all the documents coming to light as Ghadafi runs away.

  8. Well, nothing is ever sure in Venezuela, but an economist thought my numbers were low and checked them and I did have a 1.5 billion $ error. However, remember they could have exchanged $ at the parallel rate at some point, thus multiplying the panes, I mean the dollars….

    • Francisco Toro Says:

      Ah right! I should have known…every weird discrepancy in the Venezuelan economy is down to the exchange rate…


      One thing I don’t get: everything about FONDEN is in dollars, except the Balance Sheet!

  9. Francisco Toro Says:

    Oh man, I’ve been moving house so I have no brain-share for anything, but at first glance that 2010 balance makes no sense:

    1.According to your math, public sources suggest that, through 2010, PDVSA and BCV had deposited about $69 bn into the fund.

    2.Giordani told the A.N. in his report that Fonden has disbursed $67 bn or so through 2010.

    3.The 2010 Balance sheet shows Fonden still has $7 bn. on hand or so (Bs.30.1 bn. at the official rate.)

    One of those three things is not true. Are you sure you didn’t undercount the aportes that go into 1. somehow?

  10. Gonzalo Says:

    I guess this is also part of the side investments: jajajajajajaajajaj….y nosotros pagando multas……ía/Venezuela-dona-a-Gambia-22-millones-de-dólares-para-su-red-eléctrica

  11. […] The Fonden Papers Part V: More Information Suddenly Available […]

  12. island canuck Says:

    For all the electrical problems we have suffered over the last 3 or 4 years, with Chavez blaming everything from the weather to sabotage to the 4th Republic to who knows what, today he acknowledged that he has not taken care of the electric system.
    Something we’ve known from the beginning.

    What a fkg ahole!

    I suppose he’s trying to defuse all oppo criticism ahead of time by admitting to the problem now..

    Chávez: Yo acepto que nos descuidamos en el tema eléctrico

  13. GeronL Says:

    Maybe just a very very lazy webmaster.


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  15. island canuck Says:

    Gustavo Coronel has amplified so,me of the projects. We need to do this woith all of them. Very interesting reading.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Yes, great job. Sr. Coronel. Where are those tractors, too(from Belorussia)
      Where is the main stream media? I know – I am a small fry- nobody important- but- I called and called an editor and his assistant said sure sounds liek you have a story- the editor is yet to call back. It has been over a month now- different topic- wiretapping- but- point is where
      are the media people?

  16. moctavio Says:

    That’s a good question, I havent had the chance to sit down and go through everything.

  17. Kepler Says:

    Where are details on foreign purchases, particularly the new Russian embassy? And the Minsk academy?

  18. HalfEmpty Says:

    Deputy Ramos’ is a bad dawg.

    Hails and such. Keep the hammer in motion.

  19. Juancho Says:

    I was just reading in El Nacional that since 2001 or so, Hugo has nationalized over 900 private businesses. Now we see this long list of Proyectos a Nivel Nacional. Problem is, neither this list of mention of nearly K companies stolen by the rebolution tells us much. Por example – most every outfit I’ve seen that was “repatriated” has rapidly fallen into disrepair or plugged along at a pitiful rate with slackers and gaffos milling around the grounds with no ambitoin and no clue. Many joints were simply looted and closed down. What is the hard info on these repatriated negocios? And where is the progress reports on the Proyectos just mentioned? Hugo couldn’t even keep an arepa shop open.

    What really gives with this list? Or is it just a bolsa for milandros with no substance save for PR value and a web page.

    Curioso . . .


  20. firepigette Says:

    Crux of the problem and why so many people are fooled by crooks:

    I guess when we vote “our conscience” for social programs and don’t distribute our own money to the needy in our own families, we are really voting for ourselves, and/or to assuage our own consciences.This is called politics.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Reference-The Law- by Frederic Bastiat (La Loi). 1850.
      Note what he says about “legalized plunder by the State”

  21. Lgg Says:

    Hi Miguel, you can find the cached page for the Fonden downloads in the internet wayback archive ( Sorry I cannot post the link as I have problems with my computer, but if you look at the Fonden cached page there you will see that there was no info back in May.

  22. island canuck Says:

    Miguel, what are the possibilities that some overworked accountant just sat there & filled in numbers out of the air? What evidence do we have that these are real numbers?

    I think the real job is to review each project that supposedly got money & see whether it was actually completed or even begun. The MUD should organize a group – students? – to do this.

    I can’t believe that this information at this stage has any bearing with reality.

    • An Interested Observer Says:

      Canuck, recall that the starting point for this discussion is official information from the government. That’s routinely fiction, so any resemblance with reality is purely coincidental.

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