Econoinvest Directors Freed, Signs Of Change for Venezuela?

December 29, 2012


Tonight, in a very surprising development, the four Directors of brokerage firm Econoinvest were freed, to be tried in freedom, after more than two years and seven months in prison. This jailing was not only illegal in terms of the length of time they were in prison without a trial and not freed on their own recognizance, but in the end they were political prisoners of the Chavez Government. They were accused of making illegal trades in the foreign exchange markets, trades that were legal under the law and if they were not, the Government should have jailed many other people, including those on each side of the trade. This would have involved hundreds of thousands of people. While in jail, their companies were ripped off by those appointed by the Government to intervene them, but all investors were paid off, showing how one sided and partial the law is in Venezuela.

But in the end, the Government was simply trying to blame others for their own stupidity and incompetence, as the swap rate devalued from around Bs. 5.4 in January 2010 to Bs 8-plus in April of the same year. The government decided to find a scapegoat and somehow, Econoinvest became the primary target, for reasons I have yet to understand, even if many others were also persecuted.

For me, this is a very happy occasion for many reasons, which go from the very simple, to the very complex, a story that remains to be told in this blog. I know quite well one of the people involved, who worked with me for many years, and know another one of those happily released today. Additionally, I was involved in the same business and have watched with consternation every single step of their ordeal.

Given that Chávez is in no condition to make decisions, I will like to interpret the decision as “change is in the air” one. Maybe I am being too optimistic. To me, the prisoners were singled out by Minister of Planning and Finance Jorge Giordani. Two years and seven months after this witch hunt, the “parallel” rate, unmentionable and illegal now, is up over 100% over what it was then, showing that it was the failure of the Government’s economic policies that led to that sharp devaluation in 2010 and the unfair and unjust jailing and persecution of so many people. Seven other people were also freed, all related to the intervened banks and brokers, before the foreign exchange crisis of 2010.

Hopefully, this is a sign of change and that now that Chávez is not around to decide things, there is a miniscule sign of humanity, regret and compassion somewhere within Chavismo.

But we need much more…

48 Responses to “Econoinvest Directors Freed, Signs Of Change for Venezuela?”

  1. […] turning the market into a less of a market, as the most important players were simply wiped out. Some jailed. By now, only bank brokers actually do most of the tradings. The market has been diminished, […]

  2. m_astera Says:

    “No Hay Pollo!”

  3. Roger Says:

    My view is that the reality of Mercorsur has struck
    While Maduro is talking about no tarrifs and Chavez is probably dreaming about being El comandante of SA, the reality is that this involves more than cheaper food. It includes cross investment, banking and all the business rules that go with it. Given the problems that Hugonomics has gotten Venezuela into, they have no real choice but to comply and that is what Maduro seems to have said. I would say having bankers locked up does not help making new friends down South.

  4. RUDY Says:

    The bad guys are in what insiders called before in Virginia, “The Factory”, but in the meantime they changed it into ” The Madhouse” because at the entrance its written ” you shouldn’t be crazy to join the CIA but it helps “.

  5. They never needed smokescreens before. They have always done whatever hey wanted.

  6. Hgdam Says:

    I am with Keppler. Could all this be just a smoke screen to release Chacon?

  7. You need a firm sentence.

  8. Kepler Says:

    So they released these guys and instead the opposition will keep quiet about the release of Arne Chacón?
    Is it that? Kind of depressing.

    • Why do you say that? What makes you believe that? I have seen many people tweeting critical of it. Its early AM in Caracas and it is Sunday still. In any case, he has not been tried and it has been three years for him, therefore the law applies, he has to be tried in freedom.

      • Kepler Says:

        I thought he had been several times to the judge. So: there were
        just meetings and no real trial? Like with Afiuni.

        Still: I don’t remember any Venezuelan oppo politician saying anything about him afterwards and I am afraid they won’t so that “theirs” also remain low profile and don’t get disturbed.

        Keeping track of things, keeping the hammer on the nail…it does’t seem to be a Venezuelan speciality:

        different scandals with a zillion boliburgueses
        I am afraid these just get discussed for 3 months at most and get lost in the sea of Venezuelan scandals.
        I’m afraid it will be even worse with this Arne now.

  9. alexander guerrero Says:

    It was not a “surprising develpment” Octavio. The negotiation run for a while. And for what happened in the last earing, few days ago, it was clear that the government was “applying” the rules, puting then out free although conditioned, including all the others bankers in prison.
    We all are in some kind of “wishfulthing” mood at the end of the old year, and given the fact that it is free, nothing plecludes us to enforce it.

    • Noel Says:

      Maybe, and then maybe not. Even if one takes a very cynical view of this decision, the fact is that it was taken. It may reflect a perceived weakness or a bit more humanity. Either way, it is good to me.

  10. Kepler Says:

    They also released Arne Chacón. What a joke!

  11. Roy Carson Says:

    Welcome back Chris Carlson. Who’s the wife and kids? Did you finally get a job?

  12. RUDY Says:

    @ Ken , where is the proof from this rape? Perhaps from a US newspaper as you should know ??? or ot, it is allowed by US media to lie !!!

  13. Kepler Says:


    The fact things are a bit better for a couple of people you know doesn’t mean they are getting better.
    Whatever the reasons why the regime freed them, these are no signs in the whole scheme of things, just like the fact 20 murders less on a given week in Venezuela doesn’t mean the security situation is improving, it’s just part of the usual variation.

  14. Ken Says:

    Rudy You want to talk about breadlords. Why is there no bread in one of the wealthiest nations in the world? Also I’m curious why cant your breadlord supply chicken,sugar, flour,basic repair parts? Why is it that your breadlord has made it so every car dealership in the country has no cars? The casual observer of the socialist revolution would think the current chavista slogan is “no hay pollo”.

  15. TV Says:

    I hate to be cynical or negative, but it could be the new government is just lining up scapegoats for the economic calamity that is to come soon. They ran out of new scapegoats and face a difficult choice: either use their own, or recycle old ones.

    I hope I’m wrong, but it’s certainly not beneath Chavizmo to use such scimbag tactics.

  16. Ken Says:

    Another point that Rudy brings up with a light hearted laugh is that in other nations prisoners have died (such as the young Iranian blogger beaten to death by the Iranian govt. recently) and Doctora Afiuni was only beaten and raped. It appears that socialism has a very perverted sense of humor devoid of humanity.

  17. Ken Says:

    Rudy has an interesting point, if other nations (such as the US,North Korea,China) have political prisoners, then it is quite acceptable for Venezuela to likewise abuse Doctora Afiuni. A peculiar point of view, devoid of morality and logic. However being devoid of morality and logic does qualify one for the socialist revolution.

    • Jeffry house Says:

      Yes, good point. If there is one political prisoner anywhere in the world, then it is ok to make anyone a political prisoner. Like Rudy for example; he believes that if he were imprisoned for no reason, all of us should keep silent. Because Guantanamo.

  18. HalfEmpty Says:

    for me, this is a very happy occasion for many reasons, which go from the very simple, to the very complex, a story that remains to be told in this blog.
    I greatly look for to the day when these stories can be safely told and Naked City II made on location in Caracas.

  19. RUDY Says:

    Hahahaha, in guantanamo are still hundreds of innocent prisoners wich have been heavely torted imprisoned, ask your breadlords more about this, some of them for more than 8 years, some died from torture !

  20. Trader Says:

    “making illegal trades in the foreign exchange markets”
    If you only knew what its going on from early 2011

  21. Morpheous Says:

    Great news! Happy new year for the Econoinvest Directors and their families. Let’s hope things continue in this direction. Happy new year to everyone!

  22. LuisF Says:

    Pote de humo, distraccion IMO

  23. moctavio Says:

    I did say: We need much more. To me Henry Silva is as significant as Afiuni.

  24. Jeffry house Says:

    The flagship case internationally is Afiuni. Until she is freed, pardoned, and compensated for the travesty of her imprisonment, the name of Venezuela’s revolution will still be mud, everywhere.

  25. well, I meant to be imprisoned, but I think it is both

  26. Dr. Faustus Says:

    I’m very confused by this sentence:

    “To me, the prisoners were singled out by Minister of Planning and Finance Jorge Giordani.”

    Were they ‘singled out’ for imprisonment by Giordani, or release? If it is the former, then perhaps Giordani is about to get fired? An upheaval in Chavismoland?

  27. m_astera Says:

    I think it is very unlikely that it has anything to do with humanity, regret, or compassion. Rather, someone is afraid of going to jail as the robolucion collapses and is trying to minimize the consequences.

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