Wednesday 9, June 2004
Venezuela's officials under Chavez include quite a collection of people whose interests and deeds are not the healthier ones that one would wish. Far from me to accuse anyone of doing things that are improper, but unfortunately many act as if they were doing improper stuff, or too stupid to notice it. This tropical "Cour des Miracles" has one thing in common: they find an explanation for any unpalatable action that they sponsor. And they get away with accounting for their responsibility simply because the office of Comptroller General is held by a certain Clodosbaldo Russian. This character who should diligently be monitoring the allocation of all monies in the country is actually the biggest truant of them all. Rarely heard off, he surfaces on occasion to deal directly with some cases of interest for the government such as the meager funds managed by any opposition leader. While the billions of dollar of PDVSA disappear in the vortex of the public administration.
The latest scandal to reach our shores is the deliberate "rerouting" of billions of dollars from PDVSA, the state oil company and major source of money for Chavez, with the barrel at 40 USD! Gustavo Coronel in an article for Petroleum World describes quite well how all the controls are failing and how the Chavez administration is receiving 2 billion dollars outside of all legal financing routes for the public administration. One truant worth mentioning is the head of the finance committee in the National Assembly, Rodrigo Cabezas, who apparently is not losing his sleep over this money final destination. One is allowed to wonder why.
Just a quote from that article:
Venezuela is a country controlled by a bunch of adventurers. This is our main problem. The Chavez government is not functioning within the rules of democracy and financial transparency. This government is using the resources of the nation as if they were their own, This is a crime.
But truancy can be found in non financial alleys too.
Another truant, back at work, is one of the 5 rector of the Electoral Board, CNE. While the CNE is torn in the epic discussions between Rodriguez and Zamora, with the regular support of Carrasquero and Mejias respectively, Battaglini can be out of the news scan for weeks. Not really a major problem as all know that he is THE unconditional chavista presence there. But today he reappeared, and not for good.
Battaglini was the only one yesterday to vote against the approval of the signature count, activating the Recall Election procedure. It was well known that he was the main defender of the "they did not gather them" line, following the lead of his boss since that Sunday in November when Chavez announced the "megafraud". The Megafraud been shown to be at best a minifraud, Battaglini comes back with a vengeance supporting the other line of combat "no to the partial international observers". That was the reason of his no vote yesterday because there was a clause that included the permanence of the international observers, the OAS and the Carter Center. Who would Battaglini suggest as impartial observer? Cuba?
There is one thing that all common truants share: they think that they are dealing with dumb people that do not know their right foot from left foot. But one day they will be all called into accounting.