Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Danilo Anderson investigation: trumped up cards

I have been trying to make some sense of all that has been going since Friday when the fearlessly servile Isaias Rodriguez, the prosecutor general of the nation, finally made public a long list of people involved in the murder of Danilo Anderson. It is not easy, though perhaps quite clear to perceive where this is headed. I think it would be good to look first at the obvious inconsistencies of the Friday announcements; then we could look at who might the crime have benefited and them perhaps, be bold enough to venture some conclusion.

However, no matter what I write, the gentle reader should always keep in mind that in the present state of justice in Venezuela any investigation that is carried in ANY political case is carried in such a way as the following priorities are strictly respected:

1- spare the beloved leader of the revolution of any direct or even far removed appearance of involvement (even if we ALL know that nothing of importance happens in Venezuela that is not of his knowledge or inspiration). This explains for example why the revelations were carried while the beloved leader was in Mar del Plata talking of more lofty things than a mafia murder investigation

2- damage as much as possible any person that dares to express a slightly different opinion as the one held by the powers in place. This could also explain the timing, just as the electoral campaign starts, to distract from any campaigning the opposition might be doing. Not to mention that knocking off a few oppo leaders cannot hurt the chavista cause.

The inconsistencies

According to Rodriguez, there will be a long list of people indicted at different levels for the murder of Danilo Anderson. The plot, apparently, involved dozens of people from those who executed it to those who thought about it, not forgetting those who financed it. Thus the first incongruence: with so many people involved in such a conspiracy, how come the investigation took so long?

The second inconsistency is that some of the very strong revelations that occurred in the first weeks of the investigation seemed curiously to have led nowhere, at least for the time being. I am referring here to words said by Anderson own sister and his supposedly best friend Carlos Herréra. Clearly, there was a ring around Anderson that used his investigations for extortion of some of the investigated parties. There is no doubt of that as people complained, people saw large packages of money, Anderson apparent standard of living was higher than what his paycheck would have let us suppose, and more. The incongruence here is that these facts were not duly investigated and brought up Friday, yet they have certainly not been officially dismissed, that this blogger knows of. Why?

There also some other inconsistencies but for the time been those two are enough to worry about.

Who could benefit from Anderson assassination

The worn out cliché is “look to whom the crime benefits”. Before we get into a rather long list, let’s first remind ourselves of what was Danilo Anderson up to fourth quarter of 2004.

Danilo Anderson was a radical left activist who somehow managed to get a law degree allowing him to become a prosecutor of the republic. He was named as an “environmental” prosecutor but soon became the darling of all the political prosecutions. In fact, his caseload grew to be quite impressive, making one wonder how come a single prosecutor could handle so much. Obviously since most were political cases, the hard work of objective investigation case instruction was not a major concern in a regime that was bent in destroying the opposition muscle in order to survive a problematic recall election.

But after the August referendum Anderson services were not as crucial. Still, he kept at it, open to the cameras that sought him more and more. His strange looks, one would even say sickly erotic in its coldness, confessed love for weapons and expensive sartorial habits made him a media fixture. But the fact of the matter is that Anderson had become over 2003 and 2004 the person in Venezuela who knew the most about almost anyone else that had something to hide. That also was his main appeal to the media.

How could Anderson amass such knowledge? It is not only because of the volume of cases he was managing (he had plenty of help at the office for that). It was by the importance and interconnectivity of the cases he was handling. Becoming the official investigator of the people involved in signing the infamous Carmona decree made him have access the private lives and connections of the ‘who’s who’ in the world of finances and media of Venezuela. Including many pseudo Chavez sympathizers that did not cry much on April 12 2002. It is useless to pretend at this point that he was not aware of the extortion ring that developed around him. If anything this was a useful tool for an ambitious prosecutor that came from low middle class background to accelerate his rise to the top and the riches he openly wished for. There is nothing new there, this type of situations have happened all through history. What was new here is that the Bolivarian revolution allowed it to happen. Sooner or later Anderson would get wind of all the deals that were made between the government and the collaborationist financial system of the country.

This being recalled, we can see that there would be people in both sides of the political spectrum that were interested in the elimination of Danilo Anderson. But who were they?

The Carmona decree signatories

Obviously many a signer of the Carmona decree would seem to benefit from Anderson removal. But would they, really? If they signed or were shown on TV that day, killing Anderson would at best give them some time: soon another prosecutor would charge them. No. I do not think that this is where to look for. With or without Anderson they were doomed to endure the wrath of Chavez sooner or later.

Other political players

SUMATE? Newspaper folks? Opposition leaders? The same goes for them, with or without Anderson, the Chavez courts would get them sooner or later. Not been associated with the Carmonazo was just dropping them down in the list. In Venezuela today you are either 100% with Chavez or you are a potential enemy. Thus is the nature of these regimes.

The extortion ring

This, in my modest opinion, is where we must look for. When there is an extortion system whose origin is political we do in fact have two guilty parties: the one doing the extortion and the one that for some reason accepts to be blackmailed. As we all know, once you fall into blackmail there is no telling when it will stop. Thus we could have someone who paid bullion to Anderson or his acolytes and got pissed off enough when asked for yet more money. Or we could have infighting among the extortionist as to who was going to get what. Or we could even have some governmental officials that were benefiting from or were trying to protect some of the people subjected to blackmail. This people could in turn be blackmailed, afraid that Chavez would learn about their activities and be subjected to his ire and revengeful nature. And more combinations that one can think off. A whole literary genre exists based on such situations…

The actual accused

Patricia Poleo? I doubt it. She does not have the kind of money that could be interesting to get through blackmail. Nor does she have the kind of money to pay for such an assassination. Nor is she the type of person to be involved in such thing as her life work is to uncover such political activities. In fact, that she might have been on the trail of the truth could have been enough of a reason to implicate her on trumped up charges, if anything to bar her from further digging. I am not writing this to defend Ms. Poleo, for all that I know she might have been the one that triggered the remote control of Anderson’s bomb. But simple logic makes her one of the least likely suspects or beneficiaries of such a murder.

Nelson Mezerhane? Not likely either. He did apparently have run in with Anderson on some environmental affair which was eventually dismissed. Certainly not enough to make him wish the death of Anderson. Besides as a member of a family part owner of Globovision, banks and other interests it is difficult to see how he would jeopardize such a fortune on such a murder. He could have been blackmailed by the extortionist gang but one does not see a priori how since he was not part of the Carmona adventure. And his personal fortune would certainly not have been made any safer through the murder of Anderson, in particular with a murder where we are told dozens of people are involved.

General Escalante? As a military officer that has served well the regime and who has reached high positions under Chavez, one would wonder in which way the assassination of Anderson might have benefited him, except for being handsomely paid to facilitate the explosive material used in the bomb. But are there no other ways, much safer, for a Venezuelan general to make a lot of money in these highly corrupt times? Was even general Escalante investigated in ANY of the multiple Anderson cases? Not likely as the army has its own judicial system thanks to the 1999 constitution. And if Escalante wanted to get rid of Anderson, well, as an army chief he certainly had easier means to do so than a complicated blow up downtown setting.

There is no need to proceed with this list, even as new names might come to the front. The smart reader will realize that the list is by itself incongruent with the case. And to stress that, all have announced their intention to surrender to the justice once their lawyers know what is in the dossier.

Conclusion

At this point it is dangerous to make any conclusion. After all, maybe Rodriguez did his job, no matter how much I doubt that he did an honest job. However, just the timing is suspicious by itself. Making this a big issue one month before elections is not a coincidence, in my opinion. With these people put under investigation the regime threatens directly: 1) the press, 2) the financial groups that might be considering financing an opposition campaign, 3) any sector of the army that might think about protesting what is going on in the country, 4) the civil disobedience sector (article 350!) which might be scared off or be provoked in a reaction that could only favor the regime. In addition the regime can project an image of action to its electorate which shows increasing signs of dissatisfaction.

We need to wait some more, but this blogger thing that this is only a construct, a smoke curtain, destined to hid the real truth of the Anderson murder, in the hope of mobilizing the chavista electorate for the election by giving them yet a new reason to hate the opposition. I hope to be proven wrong but I am pretty sure I am right.

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Note: this article is written without links. I can provide links to everything I have written above, even my opinions which are not particularly original and have been expressed by other people in more or less similar terms. My role here is to simply put it all together to help the reader make some sense of it all. I will only limit myself to put up in my other blog the interview of Patricia Poleo and her father appearing today in El Nacional and El Universal respectively, not because they bring that much new information, but because they are the only people so far in declaring extensively. They also show how much of a political manipulation the whole thing reeks of. I did translate also part of the Rafael Poleo interview where he explains why Chavez is a Nazi. Strong stuff.

Note 2: Added in proof. Aporrea even publishes the picture of Mezerhane as a vulgar "wanted" criminal. He might be guilty, for all that I know. But the haste of Aporrea in circulating a picture of someone not well known through the media, with a "que no se escape" is telling of the mentality that reigns in that web site. Nazism as Poleo says in his interview. I wish Aporrea would show as much enthusiam in pursuing all the corruption that is present within chavismo, with pictures.

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