Archive for November 26th, 2003

From the cesspool of corruption in the Chavez administration

November 26, 2003

Corruption charges and unethical behavior are becoming a daily event these days, like in the earlier post about corruption in PDVSA. I wonder if it is related to the fact that the regime is weakening as people see and end to the Chavez era. Today charges flew right and left confirming that Chavez’ MVR and his Government have become a cesspool of corruption and unethical behaviors:


-Last night Hugo Chavez left behind his sheepish attitude when he blasted the media for not accepting advertising from “the parties supporting his Government”. Unfortunately, and as revealed by Tal Cual today, the problem was that the advertising submitted to the TV station as part of Chavez’ Movimiento Quinta Republica party (MVR) was submitted and paid by none other than PDVSA. Imagine this, a Government company PDVSA, pays and submits and ad for a party (MVR) in what has a number of violations of Venezuelan law. First of all, this is outright corruption as a Government company is financing the campaign of a private party. Second, Venezuela‘s electoral law explicitly prohibits ANY advertising by any Government agency in political campaigns or elections. Finally, by publicly filing a complaint in a nationwide TV address on behalf of his party, Hugo Chavez is violating the ethical separation between his Government and his party. By the way, this is nothing new and has been going on throughout the five years of the Chavez administration. What may be interesting is that Chavez made the charges and was likely not informed of who was financing the campaign or why it was rejected by the TV stations. At the same time, the constant abuses by the Chávez administration and his party have simply blurred this ethical separation to the point that many of them do not even believe it exists.


-The Secretary General of the Confederation of Unions (CTV), which groups all unions, said today that they had filed charges against the Governor of Lara State Luis Reyes Reyes, for using public funds to buy out people to sign the petition against opposition Deputies. The Governor was caught in fraganti, distributing TV’s, bags of food and bicycles to anyone that would sign the petitions in his state. His actions were caught on both video and still pictures and have been broadcast all over the nation. Curiously the Attorney General said that nobody had made any formal charges against Governor Reyes Reyes. (In Venezuela there is such a thing as noticia criminis by which authorities are supposed to automatically investigate any crime that is denounced in the media.


-Under the orders of General Garcia Carneiro, General Commanders of all Venezuelan Forces, a film is been shown in all army units which enumerates the virtues of being a member of the Venezuelan Armed Forces and portrays all military officials who declared themselves a year ago in civil disobedience as coupsters. It is obligatory for everyone to see the film and write a summary of it, which is later sent to the Department of psychological operations of the Army. The first part of the movie shows the achievements of the Armed Forces under Chavez. The second part is composed of segments taken out of the movie “The revolution will be televised” leaving no doubt in my mind as to who financed that effort.


-One of the saddest characters of the Chavez administration is the People’s Ombudsman, German Mundarain. Mundarain who is supposed to defend the people from the Government appears not to understand is position and does exactly the opposite; he defends the Government from any attacks. Well, this week it was learned that Mundarain forced employees from his office to act as witnesses for Chavez’ MVR party in last weeks petition drive. The word ethics simply does not exist for this poor soul named German Mundarain.

Wall Street Journal on PDVSA corruption

November 26, 2003

Article in today’s Wall Street Journal about how US and Venezuelan authorities are looking into sales of oil products by PDVSA which cost the company tens of millions of dollars in potential revenues and may have violated US laws. Some highlights:


 “In the chaotic months following a crippling oil-workers strike in Venezuela early this year, U.S. and Swiss oil-trading firms were given favorable treatment by executives” “With the company in turmoil, PdVSA’s commercial department, which markets the company’s production, engaged from March to September in several deals to sell fuel oil that cost the company millions of dollars in potential revenue, according to more than 400 pages of internal documents. The documents show that certain PdVSA managers awarded contracts for oil products to certain traders even when their bids were lower than those of rival bidders. In some cases, PdVSA cargoes were inexplicably sent to less-profitable destinations, while in others, company managers changed cargoes’ destinations without authorization.”


 “PdVSA’s own security department, which conducts internal investigations of thefts and losses, estimated that $80 million in potential revenue was lost in March alone because of unfavorable deals, one internal document showed.”


“In a June 30 letter to President Chavez, the company’s internal-security management noted that the sale of two million barrels of fuel oil to China’s state-owned PetroChina Fuel Oil Co. produced a loss in revenue to Venezuela of $2.8 million compared to a better offer from BP PLC. The letter blamed Nelson Reyes, who headed the supply-and-marketing division, for allowing the deal to happen.”


As usual, nobody has been charged, is in jail or is being accused, in fact, the same article indicates that Mr. Reyes has been reassigned to Europe……

Miguel Centella on Bolivia’s access to the sea, populism and irrationality

November 26, 2003


 


As Chavez raised again today the issue of Bolivia’s access to the sea, good piece in Miguel Centella’s blog Ciao! directly from Bolivia on the irrationality of it all. Some excerpts including my favorite sentence in bold:


 


Days after Mesa took office, his Foreign Minister gave a speech in which Bolivia‘s access to the sea was a primary policy concern. And from there it started again. Even the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, got in the game. He’s willing to offer his “good offices” to help resolve Bolivia‘s “legitimate right” to the sea (I didn’t realize nation-states had “legitimate rights” on geography). Applause, applause from the populist peanut gallery. Then Venezuela‘s president, Hugo Chavez, made certain remarks that’ve led to the worst diplomatic crisis between his country and Chile in recent history (both countries have withdrawn their ambassadors).


 


An editorial in La Razón made a clever point: If Chavez is so set on making sure Bolivia has a beach he can go swimming in, why doesn’t he give us a slice of the Carribbean. After all, it has much nicer beaches. And in the end the issue’s totally irrational. On so many different levels.


 


Oh, and I forget. We already do have access to the sea. We have free ports in Peru & Chile. There are hundreds of ships sailing the oceans under the Bolivian flag.


 


It’s my dream that in my lifetime, a Bolivian politician has the courage to stand up and say: “Guess what, we’re a landlocked country. And I’m OK w/ that.”

Miguel Centella on Bolivia’s access to the sea, populism and irrationality

November 26, 2003


 


As Chavez raised again today the issue of Bolivia’s access to the sea, good piece in Miguel Centella’s blog Ciao! directly from Bolivia on the irrationality of it all. Some excerpts including my favorite sentence in bold:


 


Days after Mesa took office, his Foreign Minister gave a speech in which Bolivia‘s access to the sea was a primary policy concern. And from there it started again. Even the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, got in the game. He’s willing to offer his “good offices” to help resolve Bolivia‘s “legitimate right” to the sea (I didn’t realize nation-states had “legitimate rights” on geography). Applause, applause from the populist peanut gallery. Then Venezuela‘s president, Hugo Chavez, made certain remarks that’ve led to the worst diplomatic crisis between his country and Chile in recent history (both countries have withdrawn their ambassadors).


 


An editorial in La Razón made a clever point: If Chavez is so set on making sure Bolivia has a beach he can go swimming in, why doesn’t he give us a slice of the Carribbean. After all, it has much nicer beaches. And in the end the issue’s totally irrational. On so many different levels.


 


Oh, and I forget. We already do have access to the sea. We have free ports in Peru & Chile. There are hundreds of ships sailing the oceans under the Bolivian flag.


 


It’s my dream that in my lifetime, a Bolivian politician has the courage to stand up and say: “Guess what, we’re a landlocked country. And I’m OK w/ that.”

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