Casto Ocando’s Book “Chavistas En El Imperio”

April 6, 2014


That a book like Casto Ocando’s “Chavistas en el Imperio” (Chavistas in the Empire) can be published and have very little impact in the daily Venezuelan media, is evidence of how low Venezuela has fallen as a society. Anywhere else, Ocando’s detailed account and information would have become the subject of daily accusations of corruption, which would have forced the Venezuelan Prosecutor’s office to open a myriad of investigations.

But not in the corrupt Venezuela that Chavez and Chavismo have helped create.

Perhaps nothing summarizes better the book, as Ocando’s revelation in the introduction, that Chavez spent US$ 300 million in propaganda in the US during his first ten years in power. Thus, while Chávez was accusing Washington of trying to destabilize Venezuela, he was outspending Bush and Obama in promoting his revolution. And his buddies in Government, were always (or are?) trying to make friends in the US, to defend their money, their properties and even guarantee protection sometime in the future.

In fact, the promotion was not only of the revolution, but even paying companies in the US to regularly show that Venezuela’s economic numbers were doing well. ironically, while Chávez formed the Venezuelan Information Office and Eva Golinger was hired to show the US was conspiring in Venezuela, there was proof of all the money being spent very directly by the Venezuelan Government to promote itself in the US and very little proof was ever shown that the US was doing the same thing in Venezuela or elsewhere.

And while I know most of the stories, given what I have done with this blog for too many years, there is something very pleasing about seeing it all in one place, publicly, from electoral shenaghinans, to the purchase of properties in the “Imperio” by the same people who were pledging their allegiance to the XXIst. Century Socialist revolution. How, when faced between the choice of “Imperio” or Chavismo, so many of them have chosen the Imperio, so as to guarantee the use of their ill gotten money.

And Casto’s book is not a “fun” book. I think to plow through it and enjoy all the details you have to be interested in the subject, like I am. And in the middle of it, there are many pointers to many stories that remain untold today, as Ocando provides, not only the names of those involved in enriching themselves, but the names of the companies they used, their “partners”, links to property registers and connections that, in my case, help me understand better some of the things that went on in Venezuela.

And some anecdotes are priceless, like that of Maduro trying to buy three first class tickets in American Airlines at Kennedy Airport with cash. I think I remember that story vaguely, but to think that Chavez’ dumb son, now President of Venezuela tried that, is truly priceless.

And it is all in there, how Illaramendi was caught, the Bandes people, Ramos de La Rosa. Remarkably, some, like Arne Chacón were busted first in Venezuela, but their destruction had wide ranging effects in the luxurious properties they had set up in the US.

In the end, the book just tells us how Chavismo went from corruption to drugs, joining forces with the FARC, the Iranians and drug cartels, showing that Chávez was willing to allow anything to his buddies in order for the revolution to survive.

But while we see why Chavismo liked the “Imperio” and enjoyed it, it was their capitalist, corrupt side, I wish Ocando had devoted sometime to why the US Government has not made use more public use of the information brought by those Chavistas, like Andrade and Aponte Aponte have given the US Government. Is that information being used? Because in the end, we have seen a lot of Chavistas being protected on the US side of the world, but we have seen little of the use of that information to subvert the regime and the revolution.

What is the strategy? Is there a strategy?

I don’t see one, I do hope there is one. If you are into this subject, buy the book. Even if you know a lot about it like me, you will be surprised, but more importantly, most of the info is right there.

30 Responses to “Casto Ocando’s Book “Chavistas En El Imperio””

  1. Daveed Says:

    Miguel, would you be willing to add your review to the Amazon site? It would help the book reach an even wider audience!

  2. Ira Says:

    If this doesn’t break your heart, nothing will:

  3. Charly Says:

    Just got the book, very juicy stuff.
    Comment written from the same municipality where Arne Chacon had his horse stables.

  4. Es Tu Says:

    Queremos Seguridad, sea roja, blanca, negra, amarilla, azul esperanza estaría buena!

  5. […] Miguel Octavio reviews Casto Ocando’s new book, Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos (Chavistas in the Empire: Secrets, Tactics, and Scandals of the Bolivarian Revolution in the United States): Perhaps nothing summarizes better the book, as Ocando’s revelation in the introduction, that Chavez spent US$ 300 million in propaganda in the US during his first ten years in power. Thus, while Chávez was accusing Washington of trying to destabilize Venezuela, he was outspending Bush and Obama in promoting his revolution. And his buddies in Government, were always (or are?) trying to make friends in the US, to defend their money, their properties and even guarantee protection sometime in the future. […]

  6. alirio lacle Says:

    Saludos colega Ocando, es Alirio Laclé, mucho exito por su libro, producto de un intenso trabajo de investigación. Adelante, usted pone en alto el gentilicoo falconiano.

  7. G.W.E.H. Says:

    just finished translating into English with copies to be delivered to the U.S. congress. Your welcome.

  8. Ira Says:

    He’s on right now on “Ahora Con Oscar Haza!”

  9. Ira Says:


    Things seem to really be ramping up over this past weekend–with every Maduro move strengthening the opposition.

    I ain’t saying Chavismo is going to fall any day soon, but it’s sure encouraging to see.

  10. Tomás Kurdo Says:

    I haven´t read Ocando´s book, but for the review of Miguel, it seems to be a kind of anecdotes book or little stories about the venezuelan tragic situation.

    If you want to go deeper, with firmness I recomend “Crónicas de la decadencia” and “América Latina: bochinche e insignificancia” by Leonidas Torres, you can find both in Amazon. These books give to you a broader perspective.


  11. firepigette Says:

    I have met quite a few Chavistas here, some higher up, who are hiding in the US , hablando pestes de EEUU and generally making a nuisance of themselves and one wonders why they are here, besides the obvious.

    But speculating on the complicated and hidden subject of US strategy, is futile.

    • Boludo Tejano Says:

      But speculating on the complicated and hidden subject of US strategy, is futile.
      Especially since the probable summation of the Kerry-Obama strategy on Venezuela is “No hay.”

  12. Noel Says:

    Indeed, the US foreign policy strategy is a mystery to me: the present government wants to disengage from the Middle East and Europe to focus on Asia. Yet, it has been out maneuvered by Russia, reacting very timidly and erratically when and where challenged; how it hopes to be more successful in Asia where it will have to deal with tougher customers is a head scratcher. Why not focus on our own continent first then?

    • djm1992 Says:

      The strategy is that there is no strategy. Obama is first and foremost a domestic policy President -that’s what he really cares about. His goal is to make the US into a more democratic-socialist type of society, where it’s citizens are more and more dependent on interaction with and assistance from the federal government (run by Democrats, of course) to get through their daily lives. Foreign policy is a distraction from all of this, and if there is any strategy at all, it is a strategy of withdrawal and retreat, so more resources can be focused on domestic issues.

      I could go on about this, but this isn’t the place for it. Regarding Venezuela, there likely is no strategy, at least none that would be for undermining and removing Chavistas from power. Obama is himself likely a Chavez sympathizer (think Sean Penn, only much smarter and judicious), and probably would have been more than willing to help Chavez and his successors out with economic aid packages, had Hugo and other Chavistas not poisoned the well too much with their vehement anti-Americanism. The constant anti-American rhetoric over the years has just made the potential political costs too high for Obama to consider helping them out……..

      • Noel Says:

        I agree with your first paragraph. As to the second, I think you may exaggerate Obama’s left leaning tendencies (he is our most leftist president but he is no communist) and I don’t think he would support a dictator, even one nominally on the left. So we get back to the first paragraph.

      • Coriolis Effect Says:

        To think that ignoring Venezuela is something new under President Obama is ignoring history. The US ignored Venezuela long before 2008. GWB ignored it. President CLinton ignored it. GHWB before him ignored it. The fact is the importance of Venezuela is mostly in the minds of Venezuelans.

        • Noel Says:

          Quite right, but circumstances are different today; chaos in Venezuela could destabilize a number of countries in the region, and historically, the US have been vigilant about falling dominoes, even in Latin America.

  13. Kepler Says:


    Just as an example, here
    after reading your post I decided to create an article on Arné Chacón.
    That was done in just a few minutes, I added a couple of links from other articles and another time I will add more and more links.

    I am sure with collaborative work we can provide a lot of interesting information for Venezuelans and foreign journos. Unfortunately, Blogs are seldom tolerated as reference for Wikipedia articles on politics, but books are.

    Those of you who already have the book: you can add stuff to Wikipedia. Just remember always to keep an encyclopedic style (X says that Y did Z, not “Y did Z” if that is something someone else might dispute, unlike the murder of Julius Cesar)

  14. Kepler Says:

    I had asked around in Caracas Chronicles about this book and I also got good comments.
    I definitely will buy it this week.
    As I said there, I intend to use it to support a lot of stuff in Wikipedia in Spanish and German, perhaps also a bit in English.
    I have added quite a lot of stuff about Venezuela in Wikipedia German and I can say almost all of it has been kept. I know Chavista sycophants populate Wikipedia but if you know how to edit things and have good arguments even they will find it difficult to take away the information we put.

    I think the article on Jesse Chacón can expect to growth 🙂

  15. metodex Says:

    Are we so dependant on the USA to make some kind of move just to make the revolution stumble and fall?

  16. Lucinda Says:

    Chavistas are falling apart very quickly by themselves. When the infighting among Chavistas starts, it will all be over within a month.
    The U.S. most likely has some covert operations ongoing or ready.

  17. Glenn Says:

    one way tickets with cash that is.

  18. Glenn Says:

    Maduro’s disney trip was classic – US press said buying one way tickets for is one of the top flags for highjackers and calls for further interrogation. I’m guessing he wanted to avoid a paper trail of a Cuban Marxist attending disneyworld.

  19. Dean A Nash Says:

    Miguel, surely you know the real reason that America hasn’t acted on the information. The CIA has its hands in every country around the world – just in case. And it has no scruples, it will deal with anyone, and kill anyone, as best suits its needs. Better to leave all of the dirt unturned. Besides, the myth that America “needs” Venezuela’s (or Iraq’s) oil is just that, a myth.

    We all know that America (people and government) couldn’t care less about Venezuela, so we shouldn’t be surprised.

    • shrillary clinton Says:

      your first paragraph is typical leftist stupidity….. your second paragraph is dead on…we could care less what the peons in another banana republic are doing to themselves….again……and again…….and again

  20. Span Ows Says:

    ordering the book now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: