Monday, March 27, 2006

Corruption free for all in Venezuela

This blogger was busy with family obligations these days. Which left a lot of stuff on the docket as suddenly corruption in Venezuela becomes an even hotter issue. Why! With chavistas now attacking each other on corruption, one wonders what is going on under the surface, to the point that some already state that the recent "attack on corruption" might just be an electoral strategy as the numbers supporting Chavez are failing to reach the stratospheric levels of 10 million votes sought.

And speaking of stratospheric, in his Sunday babble show Alo Presidente, Chavez announced that he would not put up with the stratospheric real estate prices that come as a reaction of people speculating on their secondary home values now that the government is forced to buy them due to its sheer, spectacular, incompetence at building subsidized housing (apparently chavismo in 7 years has not been able to build half the subsidized housing Caldera built in the preceding 5 years with an oil price less than half of what Chavez benefited). In English here. I can see that as a new source of corruption: a house is worth 50, the "speculator" wants 80, the government wants to pay 40, the public official discreetly offers to sign the contract for 55 but 10 going to his own pocket, everyone is happy as the owner did not get completely expropriated, the state does look good "finding" houses at tax payer expenses and the corrupt public official gets a nice down payment for a car or a vacation in Miami (it seems that chavista servants much prefer Miami to Havana when they go on vacation).

But let’s worry only about the recent cases. Fortunately this blogger found a nice field guide to corruption in Venezuela written by Gustavo Coronel this week end. No need for me to elaborate, good thing I enjoyed my week end as procrastination pays once more.

But if truth be told, I did not want to discuss the misery of the Barinas case or the Velazquez Alvaray incredibly pathetic case. Let's observe first that Velazquez Alvaray former career as a representative in the National Assembly, until 2004, made him one of those who gladly ratified the "gag" law, one of those that had no qualms criticizing the "biased" coverage of Globovision, our 24 hours news channel. Then he became a high court Justice as his prize for all that servility which included offering a constitutional amendment to allow for unlimited reelection to his boss, El Supremo. Well, imagine that, Velazquez Alvaray seems to be camping at Globovision these days as he is trying desperately to justify his actions while chavismo seems to have thrown him to the wolves (show? real corruption? revenge? does it matter?). When one sees Velazquez Alvaray on Globovision one cannot but harbor an ironic smile (VTV and other pro Chavez media are not receiving him, nor other suspects such as Alabaran the recently sacked agriculture minister over the Barinas fiasco, but Globovision receives all, no wonder chavismo wants it shut down).

But the real question is: when one sees Velazquez Alvaray declaring on Globovision, in all luxury of details, how come someone as incompetent, as ill educated, as incoherent as he is made it to Venezuela's Highest Court of Justice? How come? What about the other justices? Into what hands Venezuela has fallen?

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