Archive for February 12th, 2006

Further proof of Chavez’ fake fight against corruption

February 12, 2006


About a
month ago, I
reported
how a local newspaper wrote about a corruption case in a sugar
plant in Chavez’ Barinas state where all of the money was gone and nothing had
been built. That day a “startled” and “outraged” Hugo Chavez said “If I
could shoot somebody this will be the case”. Well, Chavez acted that day
like this was news to him, acted outraged, but it turns out he was simply
acting, lying if you wish, or in the words of Elaine in the famous mango
episode of Seinfeld
: “fake, fake, fake”.

You see, as
reported in today’s El Nacional
, while Chavez made everyone believe that he
had learned about the case that day, it turns out that he found out about it
almost a year and a half earlier. On November 1st. 2004, Minister
Antonio Albarran told the President about the case and promised to give him the
supporting material later, which was done the next day. In fact, ten days later
on November 10th. 2004, Chavez’ own father, who is the Governor of
Barinas state, sent his son copies of the whole file corruption about this
corruption case. The whole affair was discovered when a local newspaper started
to wonder in October 2004 why the project was going so slow, which led some
peasants to protest to no avail.

This was
no ordinary project. Not only was the sugar plant located in Chavez’ birthplace,
but it was one of his pet projects. You see, the sugar plant was supposed to be
a sort of pilot project of some of Chavez’ dreams: it would combine Cuban
advisers with the execution of the 62nd. Regiment of Engineers. The
President himself had asked that all of the construction be done by the
military.

As it
turns out the project became more of a pilot project for corruption and
diversion of funds. First, the military officers in charge of the project
decided to use private contractors to build the plant. Second, some of the companies
that were hired belonged to other military officials, while others where
phantom companies, they did not even exist. Finally, with the excuse that the
workers could not be paid with checks because there are only two banks in the
town, a Mayor involved in the project would take large amounts of cash in his
car, ostensibly to pay the workers.

In the
end, the plant was not built, it was supposed to be finished in 2004 and as I
reported two days ago, the National Assembly approved last week an additional
US$ 100 million for the project.

An investigation
was opened by a both civilian and military prosecutors on the case. The
military officers in charge are still active, but have no assigned
responsibilities. They have not been discharged because, guess who, Hugo Chavez
himself does not want them discharged. The National Assembly will start its own
investigation tomorrow, despite the fact that the case had been brought to its
attention long ago. Who is in charge? Deputy Pedro Carreńo, a former military
officer himself. Carreńo said this week that there was an order to have the
suspects jailed. However, this was issued a year ago and does not include
General Gomez Parra, who was in charge of the 62nd. Regiment of
Engineers. According to the investigative police, the order to capture the
suspects was “lost on the way”. Way to go!. A total
of 17 people are being investigated

Meanwhile,
Chavez once again announces that the sugar plant will be ready by late this
year, only three years late, as the Venezuelan military, the cornerstone of
the revolution, proves, once again, not only how incompetent they are, but how
they continue to be the most corrupt group in Venezuelan society. Except that for
the last seven years they have enjoyed protection from the very top. That’s why
they call it the robolucion.

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