Fighting corruption with a five year delay?

April 25, 2004

 


I have been meaning to write about the weird signals coming out of the Government on corruption and Descifrado beat me to parts of it. Interestingly enough, Tal Cual picked up the Descifrado story verbatim on Friday, which I do not recall ever seeing before


 


Basically, for the last month, there have been rumblings about corruption in CADIVI, the exchange control office, with most accusations directed straight at former Vice-President Adina Bastidas who is on the Board of CADIVI, with rumors saying that she introduces herself as the Vice-President of that office, a position that simply does not exist.


 


Everyone has stories about corruption in CADIVI, that you can speed up processes by paying a small amount and reportedly you can get foreign currency for almost any purpose, at a price. Earlier I wrote an article showing that the levels of private foreign debt approved to receive foreign currency at the official rate last year, appeared to be too large when compared to what was given to imports in 2003.


 


Well, to everyones surprise, Ms. Bastidas went on the offensive, saying there is indeed corruption in CADIVI. In a TV program on the official channel, she asked for an unbiased investigation of the charges. (sounds like the opposition, no?). She went even further, saying that the corrupt forces within CADIVI claim to be with her when they ask for commissions and use her name as a way of projecting confidence. Bastidas even said that she has been denouncing corruption in CADIVI in the committee that oversees policy, but is she has it has been very quiet as her TV appearance was the first time that anyone heard about it. That committee has very high Government officials in it, including the Minister of Finance.


 


But if that was surprising, imagine when none other than Hugo Chavez spoke against corruption in his Government for the first time in the last five years. While the President always mentions those that got rich during the first forty years of democracy, he had never refereed to the many corruption cases in his Government. As early as 2000, Chavez then Chief of the Intelligence Police Jesus Urdaneta denounced 43 corruption cases all of which have gone without investigation, which led to Urdanetas resignation.


 


Well, Chavez was very direct last week saying that some are trying to get rich off the revolution, something that he will not tolerate. Meanwhile, the Head of CADIVI, whose motto is God is love and prosperity (No exaggeration, check the web page: Dios es amor y prosperidad!) has yet to say anything about the charges in a clear sign, as Descifrado clearly points out, that there is a strong internal war within the exchange control office.


 


For once, I was actually eagerly waiting to see if Chavez mentioned corruption again in his Sunday nationwide address Alo Presidente, but he cancelled it for health reasons. Oh, shucks!


 


(By the way, for those that believe in the separation of church and state, this is a logo from CADIVI’s page:



Translation: let’s pray for a christian Venezuela……..)

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