The colorful bolibana robolution, erh, 'scuse me, revolution is rich in slimy characters that are quite often recycled criminals from the now distant 4th republican past. As a matter of fact, a strong case can be made that the present corruption days, where bags full of illegal cash are flying happily out of Caracas, are fertile ground for business reconversion in the world mafia. I am pretty sure that these days there must even be a sleazy Russian restaurant downtown Caracas...
The latest news is the arrest in Milan airport of William del Nogal. There was an international arrest request for drug trafficking, from a Sicilian judge. Now, how much more banal can one get?
El Nacional (subscription only) also reminds us the distinguished career of del Nogal. In 1993 he tried to influence the Venezuelan stock market where he played, with some other sleazy associates, by exploding a bomb in what was then the best shopping center of Caracas, the CCCT. For this he got 20 years sentence. A light sentence if you ask me since he was also sentenced for murdering a business associate inside an airplane in flight and throwing the body through the door, a body who gruesomely hit the helix with the consequences I let the reader imagine.
Curiously 3 years after del Nogal was again one of the habitués of Las Mercedes Saturday party scene and as model convict returned to his soft jail in El Junquito on Sunday nights. The scandal did not stop del Nogal and his associates to obtain some form of parole in 2000 at which point they happily joined chavista ranks. Business must have been good since as early as 2002 he was reported as financing pro Chavez political activities. Apparently he must also be racking in frequent flyer miles to Buenos Aires since the Argentinean government has asked Interpol to find him too.
But that is not all: del Nogal, together with his 1993 partner in crime Helmeyer have been associated to "the new" PDVSA business and the state security system, DISIP. Apparently we must believe that their expertise in bombing parking lots is enough credential to organize the security system of people such as Nicolas Maduro when he was only a representative at the National Assembly. We would be interested in knowing whether Helmeyer is still in charge of Maduro secret service now that he is the Bolivarian Foreign Minister of Chavez.
Now, can someone explain to me how come two notorious convicted criminals, pre Chavez, have been allowed to join high financial and governmental circles (though after 2002, when the regime started its move away from democracy)?
But they are not the only ones. Another famous corrupt figure from the past, crook banker Orlando Castro, duly condemned for fraud and all sorts of financial crimes in the US and Venezuela is now alive and well, and as Tal Cual dryly commented a few months ago, he is rich again. He has a insurance company and, I was told but could not confirm, a small but fast growing bank. And he is now a supporter of Chavez, of course. There is an extensive article in Spanish detailing the relationship between Castro and Helmeyer, worth reading.
Was not Chavez elected in part to punish all those bankers that stole the country's savings at the beginning of Caldera second term? Is there not a shred of shame left within chavismo?
That is why I can say in all conscience that this Chavez regime is the most corrupt regime in Venezuelan history: not only he has created a new class of thieves and criminals, but he has recycled quite a vile lot from the 4th Republic who have even dared to appear in the social chronicles of Caracas where obviously money buys all, from Venezuelan judges to foreign heads of state.
PS: added much later. Do not miss Miguel explanation on how petty crime starts in Venezuela. Once you get used to leech the government for a living, there is a simple step to cross over to real crime.