Saturday, August 11, 2007

Questions on the Maletagate: when Venezuelan nationals get rides with 800 000 in cash

The unraveling of the suitcase full of cash caught in Buenos Aires keeps its breathtaking advance. That is, thanks to Argentina media mostly as here in Venezuela only today finally the government must have realized that they could not keep dodging the bullet for that long.

I am going to spare the reader about the wishy washy reactions of the Venezuela government. Apparently they have been pushed enough by the public opinion (even die hard chavistas can visualize a carry on bag with enough stash in it that it takes one hour to count it). They have been pushed by the Argentinian government that wants to deflect the story A.S.A.P. before the Cristina campaign tanks out. And pushed by the very hated media of course. Pushed by that media (though many have a very low profile, not wanting to antagonize Chavez) the PDVSA head, Ramirez, talked again of media lynching of PDVSA, instead of giving the answers expected from him.

Instead I would like to list a series of questions which probably will hint better at the depth of the problem than any explanation I could come up with. None of it is particularly damaging per se, but take together a few and you will start wondering quickly. and in no particular order.

Why has Ramirez waited until today for his first lame declaration? In a normal country where there is rule of law, and accounting, someone like Ramirez would have suspended immediately his employees until investigation is concluded. Here, nothing, only media lynching according to the morally dubious Ramirez.

Where are these employees? Are they declaring anything anywhere? Why did they go to Argentina? Did they have a leave of absence or a justified work mission?

Why was the Argentinean Claudio Uberti fired so fast? After all, he was not the one carrying the money bag. Why was NOT fired the ENRASA director who after all was supposedly the highest ranking person in that plane? Who was the real boss on that plane?

Speaking of ENARSA. Why did it rent a flight for only three passengers when sending them first class through commercial flights would have been much cheaper? What business did they do in Caracas that deserved such treatment? How often do such trips take place?

And speaking of frequency. Why does Antonini, the carry on guy, travel so often to Argentina, which such briefs stays? Apparently many of his recent travels lasted less than 24 hours: just dropping a bag? Why is he based in Miami with a 1 million dollar house in some cay? Does his line of business and his connection with PDVSA justify him getting a lift? Aren't there direct flights to Argentina from Miami? If he has a million bucks house and carries 800 000 in cash, can he not afford executive class in commerical flights instead of hitch hiking from Caracas? Why did he leave for Uruguay following as fast as possible the presidential train of Chavez: if he followed it, but why else would he go to Montevideo? Where is he right now? Why does he not seem so worried about he 400 000 he could still recover by just answering a few fair questions? If he is not worried about 400 000 in cash, then why the hitch hiking?

And why did Antonini gave a business address to customs officials instead of a hotel address while in Argentina? Was he planning to at least spend the night? And why did the son of a PDVSA big wig also gave the same address? What about the business links of Antonini? they range, as far as we know, from weapon dealing to all sorts of strange companies that seem to be just fronts.

And why all eventually comes back to PDVSA and all the Venezuela/Argentina sweet deals, well, sweet deals for some anyway?

Finally, does anyone believe for a second that the CIA could be behind, and even less handle, such a crappy show?

-The end-

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